EDWARDSVILLE - A jury has found a Collinsville man guilty of two counts of aggravated DUI in connection with a crash that caused a fatality, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine announced Tuesday.
The jury found Wayne A. Stayton, 41, guilty of two counts of aggravated DUI causing death. The jury found that he was under the influence of cannabis when his pickup crossed the center line of U.S. 40 in Highland and crashed into a truck driven by Charlene Johnson, 45, of Highland.
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“We thank the jury for their public service and diligent analysis of the scientific and medical evidence,” Haine said. Stayton faces 3-14 years in prison when he is sentenced later. Jurors deliberated about five hours before returning the verdict Friday evening.
After the verdict, Associate Judge Ronald Slemer ordered that Stayton’s bail be revoked, and that he be held in the Madison County Jail pending sentencing. Stayton had been free on a $10,000 cash bond. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Susan Jensen and Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Buckley. The jury rejected a defense that Stayton suffered a mental illness and experienced a type of manic episode at the time of the crash.
“This was a complicated case. The thorough work of investigators allowed the prosecution team to show the jury what caused this tragedy – the defendant’s choice to become impaired and get behind the wheel,” Haine said. “His decisions and actions resulted in the loss of an innocent motorist who was loved tremendously by her family, her co-workers and her community.” Haine commended Illinois State Police, Highland Police Department, Highland firefighters, Highland ambulance personnel and Madison County Coroner’s Office for their work.
In addition, prosecution witnesses included experts from Colorado, Florida and Chicago.
“Even with the increased acceptance and legalization of marijuana, driving while impaired on this drug is still illegal,” Haine said. “Those who choose to drive while high – or who smoke marijuana while driving – face prosecution and potentially jail time. Marijuana is a potent drug, not to be used carelessly and in ways that make our roadways hazardous to others.”
The crash happened about 4 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2018. Stayton had two previous arrests for DUI, in 2000 and 2002.
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