Ill. police want trooper charged in crash deaths

/ Source: The Associated Press

Illinois State Police asked a prosecutor to charge one of its troopers with reckless homicide in a crash that killed two teenage sisters after he lost control of his cruiser at 126 mph.

The state police request Wednesday to the St. Clair County state's attorney came just hours after a coroner's jury ruled the Nov. 23 collision involving Trooper Matt Mitchell was reckless homicide.

Mitchell was on Interstate 64 en route to another accident site when his car swerved across the median and slammed into an oncoming car, state police have said. The occupants, Jessica Uhl, 18, and her sister Kelli, 13, died at the scene.

A state police expert in accident reconstruction told the coroner's jury that Mitchell was driving 126 mph when he lost control of his car, and that Mitchell's car hit the sisters' vehicle at 102 mph, the coroner's office said.

‘High level of interest’
State's Attorney Bob Haida said the state police had requested an arrest warrant, but he said the matter would get a comprehensive review first and declined to say how soon a decision on any charges might come.

"I know this is of a high level of interest to everyone," he told reporters.

State police declined to comment further, saying in a news release that the matter now is in Haida's hands. There is no home telephone listing for Mitchell in Collinsville, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney. He suffered severe leg injuries in the crash and spent a month in the hospital.

State police Lt. Scott Compton said the trooper remains on "active and paid status" as he still recovers at home.

One witness' account that a white car forced Mitchell's patrol car into the sisters' path matches the trooper's account, state police have said. But two other witnesses have disputed that version.