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Oswego Trooper Balder Calling for Tougher Charges for Semi Driver

Jan 28, 2015 02:44PM ● By Steven Jack

Oswego's Doug Balder is calling for tougher charges against the man who ran his semi into the scene of a broken down vehicle along I-88 in January of 2014.

Oswego's own Illinois State Trooper Doug Balder is taking on a new fight. 

After spending the last year recovering from a deadly accident along I-88, Balder appeared at a press conference Tuesday at the DuPage County Courthouse to call for tougher charges against the man who drove his semi-truck into the scene of a broken down vehicle to which Balder was responding. 

The semi driver, Renato Velasquez, was charged with felony driving a commercial vehicle over legal limits and falsifying driving records. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Velasquez faces trial next month, and Balder said he believes Velasquez should be charged with reckless homicide in the accident that killed Tollway worker Vincenzo Petrella, who was also responding the the scene.

"We can't even get (the DuPage County State's Attorney) to charge him with involuntary manslaughter/reckless homicide," Balder said. "It's disturbing. If anything we should be able to set a precendent for the future. It will happen again, and we're trying to prevent that. No one should have to go through what I've gone through."

Balder has spent the past year recovering from a broken shoulder, brain injuries and severe burns. He spent the first six weeks after the accident in a drug-induced coma. 

"I have the duty to only bring charges that can be substantiated in a court of law," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. "My charging decisions cannot be based on emotion, politics or any other forces."

According to reports, 
Velasquez had spent the past 37 of 40 hours working before slamming his semi into Balder's squad car near the Eola Road exit on Jan. 27, 2014.