Wisconsin accountant Scott Larsen appeared in a courtroom in Skokie, Ill. on Jan. 29, where a judge set his bond at $250,000 on charges of felony reckless homicide and prohibited him from driving if he posted bond. This is a good thing for everyone because Larsen fatally struck an Illinois State Police trooper with his car earlier this month when he tried to drive around two accidents on an Illinois tollway at a high rate of speed during a snowstorm with cannabis in his system.
If convicted of reckless homicide and violating Scott’s Law, Larsen, 61, could face up to 14 years in jail. Scott’s Law is named for Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed in 2000 by a drunk driver while assisting at a crash scene on the Dan Ryan Expressway. Scott’s Law, also called the “move over” law, requires all Illinois drivers to reduce their speed and avoid stopped emergency vehicles with their lights on.
Trooper Christopher Lambert, 34, who joined the Illinois State Police in 2013 and was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Haiti, was on his way home at about 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 12 after finishing his shift when he pulled over on the shoulder of Interstate 294 to assist with two accidents that had just occurred in the snowy conditions.
The first was a three-car pile-up in the northbound lanes of I-294 at Willow Road in Northbrook, Ill.
A second, single-car accident followed, as the driver lost control of his vehicle and deliberately turned into a median wall to avoid the three cars involved in the previous crash.
According to the Daily Herald, video shows Lambert parked his unmarked squad car behind the vehicles involved in the crashes to protect the drivers from passing motorists. He had gotten out of his car to collect information from the people involved in the accidents. The emergency system on his car was activated.
The Daily Herald reported:
Meanwhile, the driver of a Mitsubishi Outlander approached and began to slow. Larsen, who was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, passed the Mitsubishi “at a high rate of speed” on the left shoulder, striking Lambert and “causing his body to fly into the air,” [Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Andreana] Turano said.
Five minutes earlier, I-PASS recorded Larsen’s speed as 71 mph in a 60 mph zone, she said.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Larsen’s vehicle also struck Lambert’s squad car and the other cars that were stopped on the shoulder.
Lambert sustained serious injuries and was given CPR by an off-duty nurse, before being transported to Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, Ill., where he was pronounced dead later that evening, according to an Illinois State Police press release.
Funeral services were held for Lambert on Jan. 18. He leaves behind a wife and 14-month-old daughter.
Larsen was also hospitalized after the crash, according to the Chicago Tribune, and authorities said he was found to have cannabis in his system. He had admitted to authorities that he had vaped the drug the previous day, and a vape pipe was found in his car.
Judge Anjana M.J. Hansen ordered Larsen to surrender his passport and his driver’s license on Tuesday and told him, “Absolutely no driving.”
Larsen was an owner of the Kenosha, Wis.-based CPA firm Villani Becker & Larsen, which merged with another firm in 2017 and is now known as SCL CPAs. Larsen was one of four CPAs listed on the firm’s website; however, his name has since been removed from the “Meet Our Team” section of the website and his bio has been deleted.
He is also the founder of Payroll for Pastors, which provides payroll processing, bookkeeping, accounting, and income tax preparation services for churches and ministries.
In 2016, Larsen pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and second-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony, for driving the wrong way on Highway 45 in Milwaukee County in 2014. According to reports, he nearly struck an ambulance before being stopped by police.
After passing the ambulance going the wrong way, Larsen did a U-turn on the highway and pulled over. When police arrived, they found Larsen peeing on the side of the road.
Larsen was sentenced to 30 days in jail plus two years of probation for the 2016 conviction.