Witness says driver 'just gunned it and hit him'

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ex-wife of hit-and-run victim was charged Thursday for using her vehicle as a "dangerous instrument."

The ex-wife of a man struck by a sport utility vehicle was charged with assault Friday as the driver of the vehicle.

Valerie A. Brooks, 46, of 914 Old Cape Road, is accused of hitting her ex-husband with her Ford Explorer in the 1200 block of South Benton Street Thursday night.

A warrant charged her with felony second-degree domestic assault for using the vehicle as a "dangerous instrument." She was also charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault for attacking another victim with the SUV.

Family friend Lester Burger III, 45, said Brooks and the victim, Christopher Brooks, 43, had been arguing about child custody issues when she got into her Ford Explorer and the victim stepped in front.

"She just gunned it and hit him," said Burger, who shares a home with Christopher Brooks and his three children at 1210 S. Benton St.

Christopher Brooks was struck by the vehicle and thrown back, he said. The Explorer then headed toward Burger, who claimed also to be struck by the vehicle.

Brooks was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released Thursday. According to Burger, Brooks did not suffer serious injuries but was "sore and bruised."

Burger did not know how long the couple had been divorced, but said Christopher Brooks has had custody of their children for eight years.

According to court records, the two had filed numerous petitions and ex parte orders of protection against one another.

The most recent request was filed by Christopher Brooks against his ex-wife on April 17 and was denied. He also filed a similar petition Sept. 15 and Feb. 17, 2005. Both cases were dismissed by the court.

Valerie Brooks filed a petition and ex parte order of protection April 23, 2004 and Jan. 6, 2005, both of which were denied by the court.

Bond for Valerie Brooks was set at $7,500 cash only. If she secures the bond, Brooks must have no contact with her ex-husband and stay more than 500 feet away from his home and place of employment.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 127

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