Mother shares heart-wrenching story with LPD

By: Lauren Fabrizi

Six years ago, two teens were killed by an Illinois state trooper who was speeding to an accident. Now, their mother is trying to make a difference by reminding law enforcement around the country to drive safely.

Kimberly Schlau has made her way to Lincoln. About 100 law enforcement officers were at the training session Wednesday. Although the lectures can't bring her daughters back, Schlau said she can only hope their deaths will remind police to be careful.

It was the day after Thanksgiving, almost six years ago that Schlau and her three daughters were going to put up their Christmas tree together, until a fatal crash changed the family's life forever.

Sisters Jessica and Kelli were driving home along I–64 in Illinois when a state trooper responding to a call crashed into their car, killing them on impact.

“Up until that moment I had three kids,” Schlau said. “And the coroner being there gave me the idea that I was about to find out I didn't have three kids anymore.”

Reports say the state trooper was going 126 mph at the time of the crash. Reports also show he was using both his mobile computer and a personal cell phone moments before losing control of his car.

Now, Schlau is turning her grief into a training session for law enforcement across the country.

“I know how it feels to stand at your front door and watch the police come up your driveway to tell you you're kids aren't coming home,” Schlau said. “I know how that feels, and I didn't want that to happen to anyone else.”

Schlau has been all over the country. This week, she's telling her daughters' story to the Lincoln Police Department. More than 300 officers will attend the lectures.

Chief Jim Peschong said it's important for officers to exercise caution when responding to a call.

“We've got to wind up getting ourselves in the mindset of thinking about what it is that we're doing, so we're not pushing that accelerator too low,” Chief Peschong said.

And Schlau said her lectures are more than just getting the word out on safe driving. She said they're a way for her to hold onto the memories of her daughters.

“Through things like this I can put them out there,” Schlau said. “I can keep them alive, I can tell people how fabulous and wonderfully amazing those girls were. And this is their legacy.”

The state trooper has been convicted of four felonies, two of them being reckless homicide. He served a 30-month probation.