Shooting death of trucker moves the community

| 12/29/2008

The trucking community, a fraternity of brothers and sisters who move the nation’s freight, has been touched by the story of driver William Scott Miller of Frankfort, KY.

Miller was just a few miles away from parking his United Van Lines trailer for the holidays on Monday, Dec. 22, when the most unfortunate of circumstances – a seemingly random shooting on a Dallas highway – claimed his life.

Miller’s final action, which police say was heroic, was to steer his rig clear of other rush-hour vehicles and avoid a potentially catastrophic crash.

That heroic action, along with a police report that Miller had a ticket to fly home to his wife and two children for the holidays, sent a wave of grief, prayers and sympathy through the trucking community.

The United Van Lines affiliate that Miller hauled for, Vincent Fister Inc., of Lexington, KY, moved quickly to set up a memorial fund for the family. Donations can be made to:

Central Bank
Attn: Keith Preston
William Scott Miller Memorial Fund
300 W. Vine St.
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone: 800-637-6884

Miller’s wife, Shannon Miller, told The Lexington Herald-Leader that her husband was a hard worker who didn’t get home much. She had planned to meet her husband at the Louisville Airport on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

United Van Lines received numerous calls and e-mails. The company released the following statement online:

“We are deeply saddened by this senseless act, and our hearts go out to the family of William Scott Miller, his wife Shannon and their two young daughters. He will be greatly missed. Scott was a part of the United Van Lines team for nearly two years and had a flawless safety record. He was an asset to our company both personally and professionally. We ask that others in the impacted communities join us in keeping Scott’s family in our thoughts and prayers in this time of tragedy.”

Miller’s funeral was Monday, Dec. 29.

Police believe the suspect in the shooting, former Utah state trooper Brian Smith, 37, fired on Miller’s vehicle and others during a rush-hour series of incidents. A short time later, during a standoff with law enforcement, Smith shot himself in the head. He died in a hospital on Dec. 24.

Police believe Smith was also responsible for the shooting death of motorist Jorge Lopez, 20, of Rowlett, TX, who was killed while waiting at a red light.

Smith allegedly shot at two other tractor-trailers. Flying glass injured a truck driver for Dugan Truck Lines, and the other driver was not injured.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what motivated Smith to shoot. Police say he struggled with an addiction to pain killers following an on-duty accident in Utah. Smith is survived by a wife and five children in Keller, TX.

– By David Tanner, staff writer