Mother shares horrifying distracted driving story - KCTV5

Mother shares horrifying distracted driving story in hopes of saving future lives

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Kim Schlau spoke with Leawood police Wednesday about when an Illinois state trooper on his way to a call slammed into a car with her two daughters inside, killing them instantly. Kim Schlau spoke with Leawood police Wednesday about when an Illinois state trooper on his way to a call slammed into a car with her two daughters inside, killing them instantly.
Jessica and Kelli, ages 18 and 13, were killed when a state trooper drove 126 mph while on the phone and checking his e-mail. He didn't see their car and crashed into them. Jessica and Kelli, ages 18 and 13, were killed when a state trooper drove 126 mph while on the phone and checking his e-mail. He didn't see their car and crashed into them.
LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -

It was a heartbreaking message for officers in Leawood to hear, but one everyone agrees is far too important to ignore.

It was delivered by a grieving mom who could easily be angry with police for the rest of her life, but she instead does everything she can to try and help them.

"I didn't want to open that door, I didn't want to know," Kim Schlau said.

She re-lives the day the troopers and coroner knocked on her door. Her two girls, Jessica and Kelli, were gone. They were on their way home from having family pictures taken, when the crash happened.

It was the day after Thanksgiving in 2007. An Illinois state trooper on his way to a call slammed into a car with her two daughters, ages 18 and 13, inside. Both girls were killed instantly.

Trooper Matt Mitchell didn't even realize he was no longer needed on the call he was rushing to.

"The trooper who killed my daughters was on his cell phone and on his computer, and didn't hear, the call he was on his way to had been secured already because he was on his phone," Schlau said.

He was on his cell phone, talking to his girlfriend and using e-mail, all while driving 126 miles an hour.

Mitchell was charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated reckless driving. Rather than hang onto her anger, Schlau now travels the U.S., sharing her story with cadets and officers in hopes that her ultimate heartbreak will make a difference.

"I really hope I'm saving lives by doing this. If I save just one life, that's enough because no life is worth losing over something so preventable like this," she said.

Schlau's message was loud and clear Wednesday in Leawood where officers from there and surrounding areas listened, empathized and agreed with what she had to say.

"It's not just cell phones. It's radios, the computers, the scanners. We've got everything, all kinds of communication being bombarded at us and it's making sure the officers know there's very little of that info that can't wait until they get to where they're going," said Maj. Troy Rettig with the Leawood Police Department.

Mitchell was sentenced to 30 months probation and never spent any time in jail. It turns out he'd been involved in numerous crashes while he was a trooper.

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