By IVY HERRON
A 21-year veteran firefighter was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Clay Hospital after being involved in a traffic accident Monday afternoon while responding to assist Cory Volunteer Fire Department.
Around 1:50 p.m., Posey Volunteer Fire Department's Assistant Fire Chief Errett Miller, 43, of Staunton, was driving the department's tanker truck southbound on N. C.R. 425 W. en route to a structure fire at Lower Bloomington Road and C. R. 200 N. when the accident occurred.
The vehicle left the west side of the road after Miller made it through a sharp curve about one-half mile north of W. C.R. 500 N.
When he turned back onto the roadway, the tanker truck left the east side of the road and rolled several times, ejecting Miller from the vehicle, according to the preliminary Indiana State Police accident report.
Emergency personnel and bystanders first on the scene attempted to revive Miller by starting CPR and immediately transporting him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead by Clay County Coroner Rick Swearingen.
"Anytime there is a fatality at an accident, an autopsy is a routine part of the investigation," Swearingen said. "(The autopsy information is used) to rule out any underlying medical problems and to further the facts for the investigators."
Dr. Roland Kohr is scheduled to be perform the autopsy at Regional Hospital today. Because Miller was killed in the line of duty, several investigations into his death are under way.
Members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department assisted Indiana State Police Trooper Sam Stearley collect information at the accident scene while Trooper Chris Carter performed the accident reconstruction, and the Indiana State Fire Marshall's Office arrived late Monday afternoon to begin their routine investigation into the accident.
Officials were at the scene until shortly after 10 p.m. Monday.
The water tank detached from the truck's chassis as it rolled, spilling the water.
It is possible the water in the tanker Miller was driving shifted, causing the truck to roll, however authorities are not yet commenting on that theory.
Department members had a brief meeting and visited with chaplains at the Posey Fire House Monday evening for grief counseling. A full debriefing is scheduled for department members today.
Also today, Posey Volunteer Fire Department board members will release information on how people can make donations to aid Miller's family. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters and a son. His son, Chad Miller, is also a member of the Posey Volunteer Fire Department.
Miller's funeral arrangements had not been completed as of press time.