State Trooper Doug Balder, an Oswego resident, suffered severe injuries and burns after he and Illinois Tollway worker Vincent Petrella stopped to assist a stranded semi-truck driver on I-88 near Eola Road. According to police, another semi-truck was heading east when it slammed into the trooper's car, the stalled semi and the toll worker's car. The lights on Balder's squad car were reportedly flashing at the time of the crash.
Petrella, 39, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Balder, a U.S. Navy Senior Chief who returned from his third deployment last June, was able to crawl out from his burning vehicle, which was crushed by the crash.
The Illinois Auxiliary of Wives Behind the Badge recently launched an online T-shirt sale to benefit Balder, along with fellow State Trooper Nathan Shanks. Shanks was seriously hurt while on duty in a multi-vehicle crash March 4 on Interstate 57 in Franklin County.