SPRINGFIELD — Former Illinois State Police Trooper Matt Mitchell won't be driving anytime soon.
An Illinois Secretary of State hearing officer denied Mitchell's request to have his driver's license reinstated.
Mitchell's license was revoked after his conviction on reckless homicide and reckless driving charges in connection with the high-speed crash that killed two Collinsville sisters and injured a Fayetteville couple.
Mitchell, 34, has 35 days to appeal the decision to a circuit court in Springfield, Chicago or Mount Vernon.
Mitchell, who could not be reached Wednesday for comment, pleaded guilty in April 2010 to two counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of Kelli and Jessica Uhl. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated reckless driving in connection with the injuries Kelly Marler and his pregnant wife, Christine, suffered in the accident.
Mitchell's driver's license was revoked by the Illinois secretary of state on May 2, 2010. Under Illinois law, Mitchell could not apply for reinstatement for two years.
The Secretary of State received Mitchell's application for reinstatement on May 18. The denial was filed on Aug. 14. The Secretary of State released documents from the case this week.
"I'm glad the Secretary of State did the right thing," said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.
In that application for reinstatement, Mitchell acknowledged that he's had four other accidents since he began driving in 1994. In 1995, he said he was struck in the passenger side of his car while he was pulling away from a drive-up window.
In May, 2000, a car in front of him slammed on its brake after it was cut off by another driver, causing Mitchell to hit a bridge wall and swerve back and hit the car in front of him, Mitchell wrote.
In December 2004, he slid off an interstate in icy weather, he wrote.
In October, 2005, he struck a car after the driver slowed for a yellow light. Mitchell was using his dash-mounted computer at the time, according to former Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent. That accident resulted in a $1.7 million judgment against the state police.
Mitchell also wrote that he struck three deer -- one in April 2000, one in November of 2007 and one in January of 2008. Illinois State Police could not immediately say whether Mitchell struck any or all of those deer in a squad car.
Mitchell was never cited for any of those crashes.
Mitchell was driving 126 mph in day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O'Fallon when he left the roadway and struck a Mazda driven by Jessica Uhl, 18. Uhl and her sister, Kelli, 13, died. Prosecutors said Mitchell was sending and receiving emails and talking to his girlfriend on the cellphone in the moments before the crash. Help was already at the scene of the accident where Mitchell was responding, prosecutors have said.
In his application for reinstatement of his driving privileges, Mitchell submitted a copy of a lie-detector test read by Tim Flora, of Mid-West Protective Service Inc. in St. Louis.
In the test, Mitchell was asked whether he knew that there was already emergency personnel at the crash where he was responding. Mitchell responded that he didn't.
Mitchell was asked whether he was in full control of his squad car before he was "run off the roadway at the alleged speed of 126 mph." Mitchell responded that he was.
Mitchell was asked whether the primary cause of the accident was being cut off by another motorist. Mitchell responded that it was.
Flora found that Mitchell was telling the truth.
Mitchell wrote in his application that the driver who cut him off appeared to be on a cellphone.
In his application, Mitchell wrote that he pleaded guilty to the charges because of the "negative exposure from the media and the adverse behavior from citizens in my local area."
Mitchell, who lived in Carlyle at the time of the accident but has since moved to Killeen, Texas, with a sister, also responded to questions about his alcohol usage.
He wrote the he drank Jack Daniels and Coke or Budweiser, that he drank four to six drinks per drinking occasion and that he drank six times a month.
"I stopped using alcohol because it is against the terms of my probation in Texas," Mitchell wrote.
Mitchell, a single parent of a 9-year-old daughter, wrote that it is difficult to raise his child without a valid license because he can't get a job or transport her in case of an emergency.
"I never considered myself a 'gambling man' or a 'cowboy.' What I would say about me is that I liked to push my limitations," Mitchell wrote. "I always wanted to be the best I could be at whatever it was I was doing. ... This is still true. The difference is that I know my limitations and take my time to evaluate the risk and act accordingly."
In the application, Mitchell never mentioned the Uhls or Marlers.
Kimberly Schlau, the Uhl girls' mother, and the Marlers wrote in opposition to the state reinstating Mitchell's driving privileges.
Mitchell can reapply in 90 days to have his driver's license reinstated.
He is still probation on the criminal charges. His probation is scheduled to be completed on Oct. 16.
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2570.