Ex-Trooper Seeks License for 5th Time
MT. VERNON -- A former Illinois State Police trooper is trying for a fifth time to get his license back after a deadly 2007 traffic crash in southwestern Illinois.
Matt Mitchell was responding to a call in Nov. 2007 when he crossed the center median of Interstate 64 and hit and killed Kelli and Jessica Uhl of Collinsville. Mitchell was driving approximately 120 miles per hour, talking on his cell phone, and using the laptop in his squad car just seconds before his car collided with the Uhl's vehicle.
Mitchell spoke before Wednesday morning's hearing in Mt. Vernon. He said in his career with Illinois State Police he tried to protect the public and in this case failed to do so. He closed with an apology to Kelli and Jessica's family and friends.
"I would not purposely try to endanger the motorist I tried so very hard to protect. I did plead guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving, and I want to plead guilty to one more thing -that is my attempt to do the best I could do every time I put on my uniform, " he said.
Kim Schlau, Kelli and Jessica's mom, attended Wednesday's hearing. For her, Mitchell's words aren't enough.
"We're not looking for an apology. We're just looking that the Secretary of State continues to do what he considers to be the right thing, and what we consider to be the right thing, and to continue to keep him from driving," Schlau explains.
The 2007 crash wasn't Mitchell's only wreck while on the job. He had three others, including one where he was distracted by an onboard computer.
Mitchell says he has a promise of employment with a Centralia company, but only if he can get his license back. The new job also requires him to be on the road.
He insists he's learned his lesson and faces the consequences every day.
"I believe that if I am reinstated I will be a safe, responsible driver to insure that something as terrible as this never happens again," he says.
"Has he changed? I don't know. Has he shown us anything to show that he's changed? We haven't seen that," says Schlau.
In May, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White confirmed to News 3 that he had personally blocked Mitchell's previous attempts to get his license back. The Secretary of State's Office has 90 days to review the information from this hearing and issue a verdict.
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