Two years, four months, and 24 days ago, my life was irrevocably altered when my daughters, Jessica Elaine Uhl and Kelli Christine Uhl, were killed.
The actions of an Illinois State trooper ended their lives.
Today, he pled guilty to all four felony charges – two reckless homicide charges and two aggravated reckless driving charges. He will be placed on probation for 30 months. If he violates the terms of probation, he will go to jail.
He will more than likely lose his job, and with it, the hefty paycheck he’s been receiving for over two years while on paid leave. He also received pay raises during that time, even though he wasn’t actually working. The State of Illinois has paid him over $158,000 since November 23, 2007, and it is doubtful he'll have to repay it.
In addition, he has already cost the State of Illinois two million dollars in damages stemming from a previous wreck. This was his third wreck.
The wreck that killed my daughters was completely preventable. There was no reason for him to be driving 126mph, weaving in and out of heavy, post-Thanksgiving traffic, driving on the shoulder, all while talking on his cell phone and using his dashboard computer. The accident he was responding to was over eleven miles away, and was already being attended to by first responders. There was no fire, until he demolished my daughter’s car.
The criminal case is now closed. We have a conviction.
We are hopeful that this conviction sends a message not only to all first responders and law enforcement officers, but to all drivers: Please slow down, pay attention, put down the phone and drive safely.
Now we go to trial on Monday for the civil case.