Matt Mitchell, the former Illinois State Police Trooper who pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in a car crash that killed two women and injured two others, will not receive workers’ compensation payments for injuries that he sustained in the crash. The full 10-member Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled that Mitchell’s conduct was “unreasonable and unforeseeable.”
On the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, Mitchell drove his patrol car at speeds of up to 126 miles per hour, as he talked with his girlfriend on the telephone and wrote and read emails on his in-dash computer. Mitchell’s squad car jumped a median and collided with another vehicle head-on, killing Jessica and Kelli Uhl, of Collinsville. Christine and Kelly Marler, of Fayetteville, were also injured in the collision.
Mitchell suffered a broken leg from the crash, which required two surgeries and months of rehabilitation. He testified at his initial hearing that he continued to experience stiffness in his knees and ankles.
Mitchell’s workers’ compensation claim initially came before an arbitrator who was later placed on leave due to issues with her administration of the case. Mitchell then appealed to the full commission.
In denying Mitchell’s claim, the commission ruled that his actions constituted a gross deviation from the standard of care required in his duties as an Illinois State Trooper and that his conduct was willful and wanton.
Because Mitchell was an employee of the state, the commission’s decision cannot be appealed to the courts.
Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.