Friday, April 16, 2010

Case Closed

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.


Jill of All Trades said...

Oh Kim. So glad the case is at an end.

Frogdancer said...

I'm glad he manned up and pled guilty, so that's good news I guess, but I'm gobsmacked that he isn't doing some jail time. It's like the old saying: if you want to kill someone, make sure you do it with a car. The penalties are so much lighter. (It just doesn't seem right...)

Now go get him in the civil case!

MamaB said...

I am so glad that he plead guilty to the 4 charges. I am unsatsified that he will not recieve jail time for his actions. I hope a small amount of closure came to you and the your family today. I can't imagine the hell you have been going through waiting for this. Now it is time for the civil case, be strong! Remember you are loved and have the support of the world behind you! said...

I know this doesn't make anything different or really better, but at least that's over with for now.

thinking & praying for you all day.

Holly said...

I'm glad he finally accepted a little responsibility by pleading guilty. He's hardly getting the punishment he deserves, but I hope it brings you some measure of peace. XO

Michelle said...

I am glad that this portion is over and that he will no longer be able to be a police officer since he will have felony convictions. I will be thinking of your and your family as the civil trial starts next week.

Beck said...

I've been thinking of you all day and am sending you many big hugs

Evans said...

One young man is about to get 20 plus years for killing his 3 month old child and this bum gets nothing. I does not matter that he plead guilty. The court system failed society.
The supervisors who placed him back in a patrol car should also be charged. The entire justice system is faulty. The parents should not be decision makers or influence the penalties. said...

I'm sorry for your loss and even further sorry for the way the protectionist "legal system" has again shielded its own from punishment. Prosecutor Bob Haida is a prime example of a dissembling, patronizing bureaucrat.

Unfortunately, police are revered as some protected class whose lives are considered more valuable than ordinary people. They are extended latitude and leniency for their actions under the pretense that they are here to protect us when in truth they do more harm than good. When there is mention of a killing involving a police officer they make it a point to emphasize that, "X number of officers were killed" as though that makes a killing anything more than a killing of people.

I was beaten by police back in Feb. '09 and after receiving the dashboard video I saw the second car responding to what was NOT an emergency exceeding speeds of 119 mph on Hwy 159 in Fairview Heights on its way to the scene where I was already pulled over. I sensed from the beginning that this so-called "officer" would do no time. The system seldom refuses to prosecute their own because of the dirt they all have on each other. Actually, police are not "officers" since they do NOT take a legally binding oath to serve or protect anyone. They are mere employees of the municipality or of the State.

Again, I am sorry justice evaded you, but understand this is not "our" system or even our government. It is a system ruled by oligarchs and their henchmen in protecting the privileges of the ruling class. I have 12 criminal complaints I am waiting to file against the patrolmen who wronged me, including 2 felony counts. You can almost bet that Haida will not prosecute cops, even though I have the 12 sworn criminal complaints which are supported by statutory offenses related to police.

Good luck with your civil suit. They will throw things like "departmental procedure", "Police policy", "reasonably believed" and so forth. They are using such terms in my suit in justifying my being beaten and tazered while on my knees.

Again, my condolences.

Jaelithe said...

"Love is not love which alters when it alternation finds, nor bends with the remover to remove. Nay, it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken."

I always used to think Shakespeare was talking about romantic love when he said that. But you know, he did have children.

Watching you try to wrest whatever good for the world you can out of this tragedy, on behalf of your daughters, who surely would have wanted it that way, I've learned more about the kind of love that cannot be broken by any catastrophe than I've learned from anyone else.

Strawberry said...

My husband teaches at SIUE and remembers this well. I get chills even thinking about it. I know these recent events have been weighing heavily on you and I can't imagine how I would handle such a situation. For what it's worth, I'm on your side. 100%. This was completely preventable.

MaLeah said...

Thinking of you and sending hugs from Nashville!

Cricky said...

Oh my sweet Kim,
I am so, so very happy to hear that he plead guilty and had the better judgement not to try to fight the charges.

I know his punishments will never, ever take away the pain of losing your daughters however, I pray that their lives and deaths will serve as lessons for others to hopefully save other lives.

I love you for your strength Mama.

Andrea said...

I'm sorry I'm late here. Big sigh of relief, though I'm with the others that he didn't get near enough punishment for what he did.

I also love what Jaelithe said. And I second that.

jodifur said...

I hope this brings you peace.

Lisa said...

"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." This man shouldn't be driving! Or a cop. At least he pled guilty but geeze, probation? That's it?

Have been thinking of you lots. I saw a double rainbow about 10 days ago in Illinois. THought of you!