The mother of two young women who were killed in a head-on car accident with an Illinois state trooper in 2007 says she is pleased that her daughters will not be forgotten now that a stretch of highway has been named for them. A four-mile section of Interstate 64 in southwestern Illinois was officially named for the sisters on Oct. 15.
The young women were on the road the day after Thanksgiving in 2007 when the trooper, who was coming the other way, accelerated to report to a car accident scene. The trooper’s squad car was reportedly going more than 120 miles per hour when it crossed the median and crashed into the sisters’ vehicle. The trooper was attempting to use his car’s dashboard computer and make a personal cell phone call while driving at extremely high speeds. Both teens were fatally injured. It was the third car accident for the trooper.
The trooper was fired from the Illinois Highway Patrol and is banned from being a police officer after pleading guilty to two counts each of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving. He also was sentenced to 30 months of probation and had his driver’s license suspended for two years, though he avoided prison time.
The victims’ mother has used her grief as an inspiration to work against reckless driving by police officers. She speaks to officers and trainees across the country about safe driving. She also established a scholarship at Southern Illinois University in honor of one of her daughters, who was a student there. She said that, while she wished the trooper had been sentenced to prison, she was satisfied that he will no longer be in law enforcement.
Source: St. Louis Public Radio, “Illinois Road Renamed To Honor Sisters Killed In Crash,” Tina Eaton, Oct. 15, 2012