Former Illinois state trooper takes stand in civil trial

8:24 PM, Apr 19, 2010   |    comments
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Matt Mitchell

KSDK -- A former Illinois State Trooper who pleaded guilty last week to criminal charges that he caused a high-speed crash that claimed the lives of two sisters in November 2007 now says he's not responsible for the girls' deaths in a civil suit.

Matt Mitchell pleaded guilty April 16 to two counts of reckless homicide and two more counts of aggravated reckless driving. This was his third accident as a state trooper.

Mitchell took the stand Monday in the St. Clair County Courthouse after the parents of Jessica and Kelli Uhl filed a civil suit against him. The Uhl sisters' parents were the last of 21 witnesses called to testify against Mitchell.

The former state trooper was grilled by the attorney representing the Uhl family. Mitchell denied he's responsible for the sisters' deaths and said he was not negligent.

On November 23, 2007, then-Trooper Mitchell was responding to an accident call when he crossed the median on Interstate 64 near the Scott Air Force Base exit and collided with another vehicle, killing 18-year-old Jessica and 13-year-old Kelli. Court documents revealed Mitchell was driving at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour prior to the accident.

The Uhls' family attorney said he was outraged to hear Mitchell's testimony. Meanwhile, attorneys for the state declined to comment.


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