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Ex-trooper crashes while texting, kills sisters, files for worker’s comp

Vince Coglianese Contributor

Former Illinois State trooper Matt Mitchell is asking the state to compensate him for injuries from a crash in which he hit and killed two Collinsville sisters at triple-digit speeds.

Mitchell filed a worker’s compensation case on Sept. 13 against the Illinois State Police. The case is pending.

“I wouldn’t have filed the case if I thought it was frivolous or didn’t have merit,” said Kerri O’Sullivan, of the St. Louis firm of Brown and Crouppen, who represents Mitchell. “People get hurt at work all the time. It’s our job as lawyers to help people with the difficult and complicated administrative process of worker’s compensation.”

Three worker’s compensation lawyers say they believe Mitchell could receive compensation for the injuries he received in a Nov. 23, 2007, high-speed crash that resulted in the deaths of sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl and injured Kelly and Christine Marler, of Fayetteville.

Thomas Q. Keefe, a Belleville lawyer who represented the Uhl girls’ parents, Kimberly Schlau and Brian Uhl, in a civil lawsuit against the State Police, called Mitchell’s claim “outrageous, but predictable.”

“This man has no shame. He has no shame when he recanted his plea of guilty. He has no shame when he insisted on the stand that he was not responsible for this crash,” Keefe said. “And he has no shame when he files for worker’s compensation benefits.”

Mitchell was driving 126 mph in busy day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O’Fallon while sending and receiving e-mails and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone moments before the crash. Mitchell was responding to an accident near Lebanon, but help already was at the scene of the accident where Mitchell was responding, authorities said.

Mitchell crossed over the median and hit the girls’ car head-on. He sustained severe leg injuries.

After the accident, Mitchell was suspended with pay for nearly two years, drawing his $68,000 annual salary. He resigned from the Illinois State Police after pleading guilty to the criminal charges.

Full Story: Ex-trooper convicted in double fatal crash wants money for his injuries – From the online desk – bnd.com