On November 23, 2007, Jessica and Kelli Uhl were traveling home from visiting with their Dad and stepmother. While traveling on Highway 64 in heavy, post-holiday traffic the girls were struck by an oncoming Illinois State Highway Patrol vehicle that was traveling at an estimated speed of 126 miles per hour. It is reported that the trooper was using his onboard computer and cellular phone while driving at this high rate of speed when he crossed the median and struck the girls’ car. Both Jessica and Kelli were killed in the crash, and another vehicle carrying a pregnant woman and her husband was also struck; the couple also sustained injuries.
The state trooper was convicted of two felony counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of Jessica and Kelli, and two felony counts of aggravated reckless driving resulting from the injuries to the other couple involved in the accident. As a result of these felony convictions he was forced to resign from his position as a state trooper and had his license revoked for 24 months.
The girls’ mother, Kim Schlau, has chosen to work with Pursuit Safety to further their efforts towards safer police pursuits. Pursuit Safety is an organization that works to prevent innocent bystanders, like Jessica and Kelli, from being harmed or killed during police pursuits. The group advocates training and educating law enforcement officers and first responders. They also offer support to families whose members have been injured or killed during police pursuits.
Since the accident Kim has left her career to focus on speaking to recruit classes and police organizations around the country. Her goal is to offer a personal account of the reprecussions and dangers of negligent pursuit driving in an effort to educate officers and first responders, and prevent these tragedies from happening to other families.