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Saturday, July 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Tale of Fatal Crash Just Won’t End

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A former Illinois State Police trooper who killed two teen-age sisters while speeding, texting and emailing has appealed the denial of his claim for worker's compensation.

Matt Mitchell was driving 126 mph when he slammed head-on into a car containing Kelly Uhl, 13, and Jessica Uhl, 18, in November 2007. Prosecutors say he was talking on his cell phone, emailing and texting at the time of the crash. Both girls died.

Mitchell resigned last year. He pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide and received 30 months probation.

Mitchell sought worker's compensation for injuries he received in the crash, but his claim was denied in February after arbitrator Jennifer Teague found that his injuries did not arise from state employment.

Mitchell has asked a panel of commissioners to review Teague's ruling. The panel's decision will be final.

Teague came under fire this month when the Belleville News Democrat reported that she tried to keep Mitchell's worker's comp hearings private, away from the media. The News Democrat gained the information through emails between Teague, her court reporter and the attorneys involved.

The Uhls' parents received an $8 million award from the Illinois Court of Claims this year.

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