William L. Whitten claims inadequate electrical wiring in his 2000 Ford Ranger caused his vehicle to catch fire after it was struck by another vehicle, according to a lawsuit filed Sept. 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Seeking in excess of $150,000 in damages from Ford, Brockland Pontiac-GMC in Cahokia and driver Maclaine M. Moeller, Whitten alleges he suffered burn injuries to his left hand and forearm when the collision occurred Dec. 1, 2005, on Illinois Route 177 in St. Clair County.

He claims his Ford Ranger, which was purchased from Brockland used on Oct. 11, 2004, was defective and unreasonably dangerous in one, or more, of the following ways:

  • The speed control deactivation switch was designed and/or manufactured in a manner which made it prone to overheat, burn and catch the vehicle on fire;

  • The speed control deactivation switch was designed and/or manufactured in a manner which permitted brake fluid to leak into the cruise control switch, corroding it, causing it to overheat and catch the vehicle on fire;

  • The vehicle was designed and/or manufactured with no or with an inadequate system of circuit breakers for the electrical system;

  • The vehicle was designed and/or manufactured with an inadequate electrical system;

  • The vehicle was designed and/or manufactured in such a way that the fuel filter quick connectors did not fully seal with the tube interface;

  • The vehicle's O-ring seal in the fuel injection pulse damper to the fuel rail joint was inadequately designed and/or manufactured; and

  • The vehicle contained no warnings or inadequate warnings regarding its propensity to catch fire.

    Whitten claims Moeller, with whom he had the accident, is negligent for failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision, driving too fast for conditions and failing to maintain control of his vehicle.

    Whitten alleges he has lost income, endured pain and suffering, suffered disability, disfigurement, loss of a normal life and has incurred medical expenses.

    He is represented by Edward J. Szewczyk of Callis, Papa, Hale, Szewczyk & Danzinger of Granite City.

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