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Wisconsin Man Charged in 1-294 Crash that Killed Illinois State Trooper in March

A Wisconsin truck driver was charged in the deadly Chicago-area accident on the Tri-State Tollway in March. Andrew Brian Bokelman, 25, of Wisconsin has been charged with violating several commercial trucking regulations. The accident in March killed Illinois State Trooper James Sauter, 28, in the line of duty when he was hit by a truck tractor-semi trailer. Bokelman was en route to Louisville, Kentucky at the time of the accident.

Drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle while fatigued, driving for more than 14 hours consecutively without taking 10 hours off, and making false reports about duties. Sauter’s vehicle was idling on the shoulder of I-294 when Bokelman’s truck hit him from behind. The trooper’s vehicle was pushed at least 500 feet before erupting in flames.

On Wednesday, Bokelman turned himself in to Illinois State Police. Bond was set at $125,000. It took eight months for charges to be filed, and over 50 state police troopers showed up at the courthouse in support.

Bokelman’s truck was loaded with about 9,000 pounds of fossil fuel and witnesses saw it drifting to the left before striking Sauter. According to prosecutors, Bokelman tried and failed to rescue the trooper from his vehicle. At the time, Bokelman had no drugs or alcohol in his system. He faces 1 to 3 years in prison if convicted.

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