Driver was on duty 18 hours before crash that killed Illinois trooper

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 6/28/2013

A driver for a household goods mover had been on duty 18-and-a-half hours at the time of a crash that killed Illinois State Police Trooper James Sauter on March 28.

Andrew B. Bokelman, 26, was operating a 2005 Freightliner pulling a trailer on Interstate 294 in Cook County shortly after 11 p.m. on March 28. According to the Illinois State Police report, Bokelman fell asleep at the wheel and veered left. His truck struck Sauter’s trooper vehicle, which was parked on the left shoulder near Willow Road at mile marker 48.5.

Bokelman was working for Barrett Moving and Storage, listed in an investigator’s report as an agent company for United Van Lines.

Bokelman has not faced criminal charges, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cited and fined him as well as United Van Lines for violating regulation 395.3(a)(2), a regulation that prohibits a commercial driver from driving after being on-duty 14 hours. The agent company was not cited.

According to an investigator’s review of Bokelman’s work day of March 28, he clocked in at 6:31 a.m. and worked for Barrett Moving and Storage until 6:32 p.m. A GPS report on the trailer showed the truck moved between 7:14 p.m. and 7:34 p.m. in Waukesha, Wis., and moved again starting at 8:49 p.m. in Waukesha, ending at the time of the crash at 11:03 p.m. on Interstate 294 in Cook County, Ill.

“At the time of the crash driver Bokelman would have been on duty approximately 18 and (one-half) hours without having had 10 hours off duty,” the compliance summary states.

The record shows that Bokelman obtained a CDL and completed a technical college training program just a few months before the crash.

“(Bokelman) was hired in December 2012 and his application shows that he had no previous driving experience other than what he had while completing a Class A Commercial Truck Driving program with Waukesha County Technical College in the fall of 2012,” the investigator wrote in the compliance summary.

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