(ILLINOIS) -- An Illinois state trooper who killed two teenage sisters and injured two other female passengers in a high-speed collision has filed a workers' compensation claim for injuries he says he sustained in the fatal crash. Matt Mitchell, who pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and reckless driving, could have thousands of taxpayer dollars coming to him, angering the family of Kelli and Jessica Uhl, who were 18 and 13, respectively, when their vehicle was struck head-on by Mitchell's patrol car the day after Thanksgiving 2007. On the day of the accident, Mitchell's speedometer clocked in as fast as 126 mph, while responding to the scene of an incident at which troopers were already present. He was simultaneously e-mailing colleagues and on the phone with his girlfriend, when his car jumped the median and struck the car in which the girls were riding.
For two years after the accident, Mitchell was placed on paid leave, continuing to earn his $68,000 annual salary. He pleaded guilty last year as part of a deal with prosecutors and served 90 days probation, never seeing any jail time. Days after he pleaded guilty in a criminal trial, Mitchell resigned from the force and denied any responsibility for the girls' death in a civil suit brought by the family against the state.
Thomas Q. Keefe, the attorney representing the girls' parents, said that because Mitchell was a state employee on the job at the time of the crash, the family's civil case is tied up in a special court of claims, and a jury will never hear the case. The same conditions, being a state employee and on the clock, also qualify Mitchell for disability insurance. Mitchell injured his legs in the crash but his lawyer would not specify what treatment he needs or has already undergone.
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