The couple who were injured in a crash with a state trooper that killed two Collinsville sisters have received a $700,000 check from the state, according to their lawyer.
Kelly and Christine Marler, of Fayetteville, received the award from the Illinois Court of Claims a year ago, but the Illinois legislature needed to pass an appropriations bill to pay the settlement.
"We are glad that the State of Illinois has finally satisfied its debt to the Marlers and are hopeful that this tragic and fatal incident will serve as a constant and painful reminder to law enforcement across the country that no one is above the law," said Troy Walton, who represented the Marlers in the Court of Claims case.
The Marlers were injured in 2007 in a crash with former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell, who was traveling at triple-digit speeds on a busy day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O'Fallon while talking on a cell phone, sending and reading email on his dash-mounted computer.
Kelli and Jessica Uhl, of Collinsville, died in the head-on crash on Nov. 23, 2007.
Christine Marler, a stay-at home mom, was eight months pregnant at the time and sustained severe knee injuries. Kelly Marler, a pharmacist, sustained severe wrist injuries.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to reckless driving and reckless homicide and resigned from the State Police. He now lives in Texas.
The Marlers were awarded $700,000 from the Illinois Court of Claims -- the same court that awarded the Kimberly Schlau and Brian Uhl and their respective surviving children $8 million in damages.
Mitchell claimed during his testimony that he was acting in accordance with Illinois State Police policy. He further stated the accident occurred because he was cut off by another car, causing him to lose control, cross the median and strike the Uhl's car and the Marler's car.
Mitchell, 34, later filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits, but that claim was denied. Mitchell so far has been unsuccessful in his attempts to regain his driving privileges, which were suspended after he pleaded guilty to the criminal charges.
"It has been my privilege and honor to represent the Marler family throughout this process," Walton said.