Firefighter Struck, Killed by Bus

Firefighter Struck, Killed by Bus
By: Arnold Wyrick

SESSER, Ill. - The Sesser Fire Protection District got the 911 call shortly before 3 a.m. Friday morning of a semi-truck on fire on Interstate 57.  The firefighters battled the blaze for more than an hour before finally snuffing it out.

Then just as the last fire hose was being rolled up and placed on the fire truck, tragedy struck.

"A greyhound bus was passing the location as firefighters were putting up their hoses.  The bus struck one of the fire trucks and a firefighter killing him instantly," Illinois State Trooper David Sneed.

James Miller, 43, of Sesser lost his life in an instant.  He'd served as a volunteer with the department for the past 20 years.

"It affects a lot of people.  Our fire department is our extended family, we're a real close unit. We work close together, we trust each other with our lives.   And when you lose a fireman like this, you really lost a lot," said Safety Captain Curtis Johnston.

The driver of the bus, 41-year-old Sammy B. Rogers Jr., of Chicago was escorted away from the scene by police.  He's been charged with violating 'Scott's Law' and Improper Lane Usage.

"It's important for the motoring public to understand that any emergency vehicle on the side of the road, any time you encounter that, you're to move into the opposite lane unless it's not feasible.  At least slow down and pass with 'due' care.  Evidently this morning that did not happen," Sneed said.

The maximum penalty for violating ' Scott's Law' is a $10,000 fine and a suspension of your drivers license for two years.

Police are investigating claims by some of the passengers onboard the bus about the drivers awareness on the road.

"There were some reports by some passengers on the bus that possibly the bus driver could have been a little sleepy.  That is being investigated at this time," Trooper Sneed said.

James Miller is survived by his wife, two kids and extended family members, along with his fire fighting family at the Sesser Fire Protection District.

UPDATED 1:05 p.m.
By: Heartland News

SESSER, Ill. - A firefighter has died after a Greyhound bus struck and killed him early Friday morning.

According to the Illinois State Police, Sesser Firefighter James G. Miller, 43, was killed while responding to a tractor-trailer fire at mile marker 75 along Interstate 57.
A state policeman tells Heartland News a big rig had break problems and caught fire around 2:50 Friday morning.
Sesser firefighters responded and were able to put out the fire, but at 4:19 a.m. when firefighters were rolling up their hoses, Miller was hit and killed by a Greyhound bus.
The driver of the Greyhound bus is still speaking with police.  The driver faces charges of improper land usage and violation of Scott's Law also known as the "Move Over" law.
The driver could be fined up to $10,000 and face up to two years in jail.
The passengers on the Greyhound bus were not injured.  They were picked up by another bus to continue to their destination.
Stay with Heartland News for more information.