The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Ex-Trooper Who Killed Teen Sisters Is Seeking Workers Comp

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on former Illinois state trooper Matt Mitchell's attempt to collect workers compensation benefits for injuries he sustained in a collision near Scott Air Force Base. But while he recovered from his minor injuries, teenage sisters Jessica Uhl and Kelli Uhl died in the 2007 crash.

In fact, the ex-officer pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide and was placed on 30 months probation. But Matt Mitchell still received his $67,000 annual salary for almost two years while his criminal case played out. The Illinois State Police was planning a disciplinary case against him, so he resigned instead.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Court of Claims is expected to issue a verdict in the $46 million wrongful death suit filed by the girls' parents soon.

So the fact that Matt Mitchell has hired an Illinois workers compensation attorney to try and collect for his injuries has angered many in the community, given the underlying circumstances.

Tom Keefe, an attorney representing the deceased girls' parents in the lawsuit called Matt Mitchell's workers comp claim "disgusting," adding, "Nothing he does surprises me anymore." But since the main legal hurdle to collecting workers comp is that an injury must be sustained while acting in the course of one's employment, it's likely he'll collect.

The exact nature of his injuries is not part of public record.

Matt Mitchell was driving as fast as 126 mph while at the same time sending an e-mail to another officer and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone when his car crossed the median and hit the car containing the two teenage girls head-on, according to investigators. He was headed to a traffic crash scene but officials said he should have already known that first responders already had arrived.

While his Illinois employment lawyer declined to comment on the workers comp claim, Tom Keefe had plenty to say:

"He has revealed himself as person with no character."

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