brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

No Super Trooper Here

Matt Mitchell is the Illinois State Police trooper who was suspended for an accident he caused that killed two teenage sisters, Jessica and Kelli Uhl, back in November of 2007 after he lost control of his squad car.  According to prosecutors, Mr. Mitchell had been talking on a cell phone and emailing on the mobile computer inside his Chevrolet Impala patrol car as he drove more than one hundred twenty miles per hour on Interstate 64 near Scott Air Force Base.  Mr. Mitchell’s cruiser jumped the median and then slammed into the car with the two sisters from Collinsville, Illinois.  Jessica and Kelli were killed instantly.

Mr. Mitchell said that he was responding to a call for help to a previous traffic crash that had already been cleared.  Mr. Mitchell pleaded guilty and a St. Clair County grand jury indicted Mr. Mitchell on two counts each of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving.  As a result of his conviction, Mr. Mitchell was given a slight slap on the wrist when he was sentenced to just thirty months probation.

Kimberly Schlau is the mother of the two girls that were killed.  She has filed a lawsuit for the wrongful death of her daughters.  She is holding Mr. Mitchell and the state responsible and accountable for the crash. She is seeking twelve million dollars for each girl.

But here’s the piece of the puzzle that piqued my interest.  Although he initially denied responsibility, Mr. Mitchell eventually pleaded guilty.  Mr. Mitchell admitted that he was criminally responsible for his crash on duty that killed the two sisters and apologized for his recklessness.  That happened on a Friday.  He was sentenced to probation and walked away from the courts a free man.  On Monday, facing civil charges from Ms. Schlau’s lawsuit, Mr. Mitchell tried to take back his guilty plea saying that the only reason he pleaded guilty in the criminal case was because he felt that he didn’t think he could get a fair trial.  At the time of his sentencing, trying to appeal to the sympathy of the court, he said he would forever regret what happened.  The following Monday, just three days later, under heated questioning by Ms. Schlau’s lawyer Tom Keefe, Mr. Mitchell refused to admit he caused the collision.  When Mr. Mitchell was asked if he had lied when he admitted wrongdoing, the Illinois trooper said that he did.

Mr. Mitchell insisted he had used reasonable care and that he had finished his phone call before a white car cut him off and he lost control.  Coincidentally, the dashboard camera of his car was turned off moments before the accident.  Accident investigators never found the white car Mr. Mitchell claimed as the true cause of the accident.  The phone call just before the accident had been a private conversation with the mother of his child.  The email he sent from the patrol car computer was to another office for directions to the previous crash scene he was trying to respond to.  It seems somewhat irresponsible to be in such a hurry to get to a place when you have no idea where you’re going.  Mr. Mitchell said he was driving so fast because it was an emergency.  Transcripts from the police radio conversation indicate the wayward trooper was told the accident had been cleared by other emergency responders.  But Mr. Mitchell claims that he did not hear that piece of the conversation.  How Mr. Mitchell avoided serious time in prison is beyond the comprehension of reason.

And this was not the first accident he caused.  He has been involved in two previous crashes in his relatively short six year career as a state police officer.  One of the previous accidents resulted in a seven figure judgment against the state.

Mr. Mitchell has proven himself a liar and a coward.  He admits to lying to the court out of fear that he would be unfairly prosecuted.  With such little confidence in his chosen profession of law enforcement it is a wonder that he bothered to become, let alone stay, a state trooper.  He demonstrates no desire to protect or seek the truth.  How many times has Mr. Mitchell lied in a court or in his police reports in order to get the outcome he wanted?  He admitted to lying when he said that he regretted causing the accident.  How do we know he’s not lying about the white car that he claims cut him off or about not hearing that the accident he was headed to was cleared?

I cannot help but think how fortunate it is to be a state police officer in Illinois.  I could have a history of reckless behavior, kill innocent people with my squad car, and go home with a thirty month probation as punishment based on my ability to lie to the court about having some sense of remorse.  Mr. Mitchell is a first class example of why we shouldn’t be so quick to trust the word of people who carry badges.  The people of Illinois would do well to get Mr. Mitchell off their payroll.  This man is a serious liability to the state’s ability to keep the peace.  They didn’t learn the lesson after his first accident.  They didn’t learn the lesson after the second accident.  Maybe the third time will be a charm.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts

3 Comments »

  1. Well, this guy sure is a piece of work. However, consider this for one moment…instead of not being able to trust a person with a badge, how about being able to trust someone from illinois in a gov’t job related position

    Think..ex-gov blago, a host of other politicians dating back to the depression days….just in chicago alone, nevermind other cities, and at the state level as well

    Then look at the judge in the criminal case…. given the circumstances, how could the judge, if not throwing corrupt favors around actually stand by a 30 month probation sentence?

    And the state patrol division, or any oversight committee or organization has allowed the man to stay on the road despite his less than stellar driving record??

    Maybe its just me, but it seems that the stink of chicago politics may just be an overall Illinois based theme???

    Comment by mike lovell | Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback mike lovell,

      LOL…I don’t even think about the politics of Illinois!

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, April 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. There isn’t any shortage of public servants who pose as role models, but who don’t deserve the unconditional trust of the public. Jon Burge also made headlines recently. This Chicago cop tortured suspects was so admired by his peers his gang of hoodlums was named The A-team.

    BadCopNews featured thousands of lawless cops every year. Unfortunately, that website is no longer around. Law enforcement remains a safe haven for sociopaths.

    Comment by Al Allen | Monday, January 24, 2011 | Reply


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