SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (KMOX) — If Illinois State Senator Bill Haine of Alton has his way, a stretch of Interstate 64 will be dedicated in memory of Jessica and Kelli Uhl. The two Collinsville sisters were killed Thanksgiving weekend in 2007 by former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell. Mitchell was later convicted of reckless homicide for his involvement in the accident. The measure has already passed the General Assembly.
“With a heavy heart, we honor the memory of Jessica and Kelli,” Haine said. “Upon swift action by the Governor, we will fulfill the wishes of the girls’ family and honor their memory.”
“While we can never heal the wounds inflicted by this tragic loss of innocent life, we can keep their memory alive for our citizens,” Haine added.
Under the bill, Senate Joint Resolution 40 renames the section of Interstate 64 between Exit 19A at Illinois Route 158 and Exit 23 at Illinois Route 4 as the Jessica and Kelli Uhl Memorial Highway.
The resolution provides for appropriate signs or plaques to be erected to display this designation. A temporary memorial has already been placed on Highway 158 in honor of Jessica and Kelli Uhl under the fatal accident memorial marker program. The memorial contains the names of the two girls and states “Reckless Driving Costs Lives,” but the marker is not visible from Interstate 64 and would be removed in less than two years without legislative action making the memorial permanent.
Following the accident, the Illinois State Police ushered in new rules limiting on-duty officers’ use of personal cellular phones and implemented a four-tier system of guidelines specifying how fast troopers may travel while responding to emergency calls.
“It is personally distressing that Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell wore the uniform of the Illinois State Police.” Haine said. “Mitchell’s disgraceful, reckless conduct was clearly an aberration and inconsistent with the tradition of excellence of the Illinois State Police.”
Senate Joint Resolution 40 now awaits action by the Governor.