Injured Oswego Trooper Heading Home
Apr 30, 2014 05:46PM ● Published by Steven Jack
Operation Welcome You Home welcomed home State Trooper Doug Balder in June of 2013. Photo courtesy of Operation Welcome You Home.
Oswego’s own State Trooper Doug Balder will be released from Loyola Medical Center Thursday morning, and is returning home, according to military support group Operation Welcome You Home.
“Doug has been making great progress especially in the past month and tomorrow Doug will be discharged from Loyola Hospital and going home! He will be having daily outpatient therapy, but he will be sleeping in his own bed,” OWYH said in a news release. “Doug's family is ecstatic to have him come home.”
Balder will be greeted at Loyola by a contingent of OWYH riders and Troopers, the release said.
OWYH is well known throughout the Chicago area for providing returning soldiers a heroes welcome with parades of motorcycles and emergency services vehicles.
Balder, a U.S. Navy veteran, received his own such welcome last summer. He had been on a tour of duty in Africa.
After returning, Balder went back to work as an Illinois State Trooper, but was critically injured Jan. 27 in an accident on I-88 near the Eola Road exit.
The crash killed Tollway worker Vincent Petrella, 39, and left Balder with third-degree burns and many broken bones. Renato V. Velasquez, 46, of Hanover Park was charged with several felony counts in the crash.
Balder and Petrella had stopped to help a truck driver before Velasquez allegedly drove his own semi into Balder's trooper vehicle, pushing it into Balder and Petrella.