A former Illinois State trooper who killed two girls while driving 126 mph and using his cell phone is now asking the state for worker's compensation for injuries suffered in the accident.
Matt Mitchell was responding to the scene of another accident in 2007 when his car jumped the median of a highway and hit a car head-on, killing 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 13-year-old sister Kelli, and injuring two others.
The investigation showed Mitchell was going 126 mph, and was emailing and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone in the moments before the crash.
After the accident, Mitchell was suspended with pay for nearly two years, drawing his $68,000 annual salary. He resigned from the State Police after pleading guilty to reckless homicide and reckless driving charges. He was sentenced to 30 months probation.
Mitchell sustained severe leg injuries in the crash and now wants the state to pay him for his injuries.
"I wouldn't have filed the case if I thought it was frivolous or didn't have merit," said Kerri O'Sullivan, Mitchell's attorney. "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."
Experts say Mitchell actually has a good case for receiving compensation, since he was doing his job when he got injured. The Illinois attorney general even signed a stipulation agreeing that Mitchell was acting in his capacity as a state trooper when the accident occurred.
Thomas Keefe, who is representing the dead women's parents 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."