The wife of an Illinois Tollway employee who was killed in a fiery crash on I-88 in January has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver alleged to have caused the crash and against his employer.
Sandra Petrella, wife of Vincenzo Petrella, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. Vincenzo Petrella died in an accident on the Reagan Memorial Tollway.
Petrella was helping with a disabled semi trailer at about 9:45 p.m. on January 27 when a second semi struck the parked vehicles. Douglas Balder, an Illinois State Trooper, was also at the scene, suffered serious injuries. The lawsuit claims that both vehicles were parked in the right lane and shoulder and were flashing emergency lights.
The driver of the second truck has been charged with operating a motor vehicle while fatigued, with driving longer hours than federal rules allow and with falsifying work records. Prosecutors allege that the man had been driving for 37 hours straight when the crash occurred.
The driver and the trucking company that employed him have both been named as defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sandra Petrella.
Her husband also left behind a seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, according to court documents.
The lawsuit alleges that the truck driver was driving while sleep-deprived. He failed to look out for hazards and failed to yield to emergency vehicles. The complaint also claims that the trucking company was negligent in allowing the driver to drive while fatigued and in failing to verify compliance with federal regulations on driving hours.