MOUNT VERNON, Ill. (AP) – A hearing officer on Tuesday began weighing a former Illinois state trooper’s latest request to get back driving privileges he lost after his on-duty freeway crash killed two sisters in 2007.
Matt Mitchell, during a Illinois Secretary of State’s Office hearing in Mount Vernon, pledged he would never drive or reside again in Illinois if he got back the driver’s license he insisted he needs to get licensed and employed in Texas, where he now lives, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.
The mother of the sisters who died in the 2007 wreck pressed that Mitchell’s request be rejected, recounting that the injuries of her daughters Jessica Uhl, 18, and Kelli Uhl, 13 during the Interstate 64 wreck east of St. Louis were so severe that authorities weren’t clear who was in the car.
“I know what it is like to be asked by the troopers, who was in that car, because my children were injured so brutally that they were unrecognizable,” Kim Schlau told the hearing officer, whose ruling in the case is expected within 90 days. “I know what it is like to be told that your children are dead because of the actions of someone sworn to protect them.”
Mitchell was a state trooper driving more than 120 mph and using his cellphone and computer in November 2007 when his car crossed the median on Interstate 64 east of St. Louis and slammed into a car occupied by the Uhl sisters of Collinsville.
Mitchell later received probation after pleading guilty to reckless homicide.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Mitchell apologized to the Uhls and said the deadly crash was attributable to the speed at which he was driving, never mentioning his use of a cell phone or computer in the moments leading to the wreck.
Schlau, the mother, told a reporter later Tuesday she accepts that Mitchell might someday be allowed to drive again.
“I really would like to see him not drive again, but I know that might be naive,” she said.
Mitchell since last year has lost two previous attempts to get his driver’s license back.
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