Tabor City Police Officer laid to rest - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

5.17.04

Tabor City Police Officer laid to rest

Monday, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Tabor City Police Officer Timothy Shane Miller, who was killed when the cruiser he was riding in crashed head-on into another vehicle.

A mangled police cruiser sat in a ditch off Highway 904 near Tabor City Saturday morning, the aftermath of a police pursuit gone bad. Killed in the crash Friday night was Shane Miller, a firefighter, a member of the rescue squad, and, for just one night, a police officer.

"All I can remember is that every time I'd see him he'd say he wanted to be a cop," says Miller's friend and Tabor City Rescue Chief Charles Godwin. Friday night, Miller was an officer. It was his first day on the job, riding in the passenger's seat of a cruiser which crashed just five hours into his shift.

Authorities say the driver of the police car, Sgt. Jason Soles, was trying to pull someone over, when he crossed the center line and was hit head-on by an oncoming car. His trainee, Miller, died at the scene.

"It's bad enough to lose your life," Tabor City's Mayor, Marion Baxter says, "But especially for this young man with this happening on the first day of his job."

The next morning, the flag flew at half-staff at the Williams-Township Fire Station, where Miller volunteered.

Firefighters laid a wreath in his honor, and tied black ribbons to the building. Later, they sifted through scrapbooks, stirring up old memories and new questions.

"Why did this have to happen to him?" Godwin asks. "Somebody who devoted so much of his life to helping his community."

A man who, ironically, just joined the honor guard. Their primary duty -- to pay tribute to fallen public servants just like Shane Miller.

As for the officer driving the cruiser, Sgt. Soles was hospitalized, but his injuries are not life-threatening. It's unclear if he'll face any charges.

Reported by: Justin Smith

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