The trucker who caused an accident on I-88 in the Chicago area has had his operating license revoked and has been charged with multiple felonies after allegedly driving for 36 hours without a break. The accident occurred when the driver hit a police car and a highway maintenance vehicle, seriously injuring the police officer and killing the highway employee.
Different sources are reporting different specifics, but it is certain that the driver went from Chicago to Nebraska, then on to Iowa where he picked up another load to bring back to Chicago. He may have been driving for as many as 36 hours on only 3.5 hours of sleep.
The driver’s attorney claims that his client was not asleep at the wheel when he ran in to the stopped police cruiser and maintenance vehicle, but rather that another truck in front of him prevented him from seeing the vehicles that had stopped on the shoulder to assist another vehicle. By the time the truck in front of him merged out of the way, the driver was unable to do the same.
Both the police cruiser and the highway maintenance vehicle had flashing lights on at the time of the accident.
The police officer suffered 3rd degree burns over 15% of his body, broken ribs, and a broken shoulder, but was able to climb out of his burning vehicle. The highway worker, 39 year old Vincent Petrella, died at the scene.
Blood tests for both drugs and alcohol came back negative, but according to the County State’s Attorney that is prosecuting the driver, “Driving tired is as bad a driving impaired or driving drunk.”
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