How long should an accident investigation take? Six weeks? Six months? How about more than a year?
A St. Louis family has been waiting one year and two days to hear from Illinois State Police about the night an alleged drunk driver killed their daughter.
A spokesperson with ISP says you never want to rush an investigation or an important crash reconstruction.
And the Bahmler family couldn't agree more. But they feel someone has dropped the ball and their suffering and grief has only been magnetized.
Abby and Brooke Bahmler were 17 months apart in age. They grew up best friends, they played as best friends, and on Feb.17, 2013 Brooke died with her best friend trying to save her.
Their mother, Jan recalls the phone call from St. Louis University Medical Center.
"They called me to say Abby was in critical condition…and I said, but I have two daughters," Jan said.
Brooke, her sister Abby, and good friend were driving home from Laclede's Landing. Brooke, the designated driver, missed her turn and ended up in Sauget.
As she tried to turn around, another driver whose toxicology tested nearly twice the legal limit, t-boned their car, killing Brooke instantly. Her sister and friend survived.
The alleged drunk driver hasn't faced charges because Illinois State Police hasn't finished the accident reconstruction report. Some details of the accident still aren't clear.
"I think the state of Illinois should be ashamed of how it's handled my daughter's death," Jan said.
For one year and two days, the family waits, while the tears never stop.
Not even the Sauget police chief can get action.
Bahmler has a challenge for Illinois governor Pat Quinn.
"If this was his child, and I wouldn't wish anyone ever to lose a child, but if he were to, how could he allow his state to be so negligent and to have my family wait and wait for a year, to not have closure, to not have Brooke rest in peace," she said.
At our request, Governor Quinn's office looked into the Bahmler's complaint today.
A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police got back to NewsChannel Five this afternoon saying the report is done, but a few more signatures are needed on the sign-off.
It should be finalized in a few weeks or sooner. At that point, Sauget Police can take the case to the prosecutor, for potential charges.
Here is the ISP statement in its entirety:
It's my understanding that ISP was waiting for reports from Sauget. Without the Sauget reports, our ability to conduct a thorough crash reconstruction investigation could not proceed. The allegation that the Sauget Chief repeatedly reached out to ISP is simply untrue. Unfortunately, ISP has not heard from the family. However, that does not indicate that our work did not continue. In order to serve justice for any family or victim, a thorough investigation is necessary for charges. We are pleased to say that the crash reconstruction was completed pending a few final sign offs and we expect to provide the final results to the Sauget Police Department within the coming week(s) for charges. We also understand the family's frustration, because our own officers' families have had to tragically endure lengthy investigations to ensure that justice was served after having lost a loved one killed in the line of duty.....
Sauget's police chief stands by his statements that he repeatedly tried to contact ISP about the accident report.