Improper lane change on I-64 blamed in crash

Andrea Dearden Nov. 22, 2011, 2:48am


A St. Clair County man says he was hurt when a Fairview Heights man allegedly made an unsafe lane change on I-64.

Charles Ray Hampton filed a lawsuit Oct. 28 against Michael C. Valentin in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

The alleged crash happened as Hampton was driving east on Interstate 64 in East St. Louis in November 2010. As he approached the border of Illinois and Missouri, Hampton, who was driving his Chevy Suburban behind another car in the left lane, claims Valentin tried to merge from the right lane into the left.

Hampton claims there was not enough room between his Surburban and the car in front of him to allow Valentin's vehicle to merge safely between them. When traffic slowed, Valentin was allegedly forced to slam on his brakes to avoid crashing. Hampton says because of the lack of space, he was unable to avoid hitting the rear of Valentin's car.

Hampton says he suffered whiplash during the crash, causing painful damage to his neck. According to the petition, Valentin was issued a citation for improper lane usage and pleaded guilty to the charge.

Hampton accuses Valentin of negligence and asks for more than $100,000 in damages for medical costs, vehicle repairs, loss of income and court fees.

Hampton is being represented by attorney David M. Duree, of O'Fallon.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-611

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