Former Illinois state trooper Matt Mitchell, who killed two girls in a 2007 car crash caused when he was sending emails on his phone – and is now demanding compensation for his injuries
A former Illinois state trooper is demanding compensation after a crash in which he hit and killed two sisters.
Matt Mitchell was driving at 126mph through busy traffic on Interstate 64 while sending and receiving emails and talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone.
He crossed the median and hit a car carrying four girls head on.
Two of the girls – sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl – were killed in the crash.
The other two, Kelly and Christine Marler, were injured.
Now Mitchell is asking the state to compensate him for his injuries.
This man has no shame,’ Thomas Keefe, the lawyer for the parents of Kelli and Jessica Uhl, told local media.
He called the claim ‘outrageous, but predictable’.
Mitchell was suspended for nearly two years after the November 23, 2007 accident – but he still drew his $68,000 annual salary.
He pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and reckless driving in exchange for a sentence of 30 months probation.
He also resigned from the Illinois State Police.
Now lawyers claim the only defence the state may have is whether or not Mitchell was doing his job as a state trooper when the accident occurred.
Even if he was drinking or doing drugs at the time of the accident, Chicago lawyer Ian Elfenbaum said, the state still may have to pay up.
At the time of the crash, Mitchell had been responding to another accident – although help was already at that scene, officials said.
And, during a civil suit filed by the Uhls’ parents, the Illinois attorney general signed a stipulation agreeing that, despite his plea to the criminal charges, Mitchell was acting in his capacity as a state trooper when the accident occurred.
That admission, it was claimed, sealed the deal.
Mitchell’s lawyer Kerri O’Sullivan said: ‘I wouldn’t have filed the case if I thought it was frivolous or didn’t have merit.’
Under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act, each injured body part is assigned a number of weeks of pay, and a hearing officer determines the percent of each injured body part.
Taxpayers could face a bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars if Mitchell wins the case.
But he still has to get out of bed every day and know that he caused the death of those two girls, and know that he didn’t take responsibility for that,’ Mr Keefe said.
He still has to look himself in the mirror and think about the fact his actions forever took two girls away from their parents, then he filed for worker’s compensation benefits.’