Department of Labor launches investigation into death of Illinois Tollway worker

The Illinois Department of Labor launched an investigation into the death of an Illinois Tollway maintenance worker on January 27. The worker was killed, and a State Trooper suffered serious injuries, while they were assisting highway motorists under severe weather conditions. The investigation was launched immediately.

The accident occurred when a truck crashed into a police vehicle and another truck on the Illinois Tollway in the western suburbs of Chicago. Vincent Petrella, a 39-year-old worker who grew up in the Little Italy neighborhood of Chicago, was killed in the crash. State Trooper Douglas Balder was seriously injured. Balder, a Navy reservist, had recently rejoined the police force after a third mobilization.

A witness said that the truck that struck the two vehicles failed to get out of the way of the police vehicle, which was parked on the shoulder with emergency lights flashing. Each year, Illinois State Police issue hundreds of violations for this offense.

The Department of Labor inspects worksites where such accidents occur in order to determine whether a violation of health and safety standards took place and whether such an alleged violation had any effect on the accident. Violations may include a breach of Illinois Department of Labor rules or an Occupational Safety and Health Administration violation.

Joe Costigan, the Director of the Department, extended sympathies to the family and said that a thorough investigation would be conducted. Costigan also asked drivers to travel slowly and remain aware of emergency work crews during severe weather conditions.

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