Metro-East News

Man was driving 100 mph before fatal Highland crash, police say

Scenes from fatal crash in Highland near park-and-ride

A two-truck accident killed a Highland woman just after 4 a.m. Friday on U.S. 40 at Kennedy Lane, near the park-and-ride in Highland. The crash killed 45-year-old Charlene Johnson and sent 36-year-old Wayne Stayton of Collinsville to St. Joseph’s
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A two-truck accident killed a Highland woman just after 4 a.m. Friday on U.S. 40 at Kennedy Lane, near the park-and-ride in Highland. The crash killed 45-year-old Charlene Johnson and sent 36-year-old Wayne Stayton of Collinsville to St. Joseph’s

The crash that killed a Highland woman in February is being investigated as a reckless homicide, according to court documents.

Police say Wayne Stayton, 36, of Collinsville, was driving more than 100 mph and allegedly tested positive for cannabis and benzodiazepines while he was hospitalized following the crash that killed Charlene Johnson on Feb. 23.

Stayton did not appear to have been charged with any crime as of Friday afternoon. A search warrant request, obtained Friday by the News-Democrat, indicates the crash is being investigated as a possible aggravated driving under the influence/reckless homicide. The search warrant request states that Stayton, after the crash, said he had been driving more than 100 mph.

Court records in St. Clair County indicate Stayton had a previous DUI charge in 2000 that was dismissed in 2002 after Stayton completed outpatient alcohol treatment and two years of court supervision. But again in 2002, he was arrested in Madison County and pleaded guilty to DUI. It was dismissed after he once again completed two years of court supervision.

Johnson, 45, was killed at about 4 a.m. Feb. 23 as she was on her way to work. She was headed west on U.S. 40 near Kennedy Lane in Highland when a truck driven by Stayton crossed the center line and collided head-on with Johnson’s truck.

Johnson was declared dead at the scene.

Stayton was able to extricate himself from his car and was waiting alongside the road when the first responding officer arrived. He was taken to an area hospital, and later transferred to St. Louis University Hospital for treatment of a broken leg.

The day of the crash, Illinois State Police filed for a search warrant for the gray 2011 GMC Sierra that Stayton was driving. The remains of his truck had been towed to a Highland tow yard, and the police wanted access to the sensing diagnostic module and deployed air bag from the car.

The sensing diagnostic module is designed to monitor events within the vehicle and records information leading up to the crash, according to the search warrant.

Madison County court records indicate that Illinois State Police executed the warrant by 4 p.m. Feb. 23, approximately 12 hours after the crash occurred. It was released to the public this week.

Johnson was described as a hard worker with a big heart, who worked as a union laborer and volunteered for the Alhambra Jaycees.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

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