The loss of Trooper First Class Kevin Miller marks the first line of duty death for Connecticut State Police since Trooper First Class Kenneth Hall was killed on Interstate 91 in Enfield on Sept. 2, 2010.
TFC Hall’s widow Sheila said that watching the news coverage of Miller’s death Thursday was like reliving her own worst day all over again.
“My heart just went … it just stopped,” she said. “I couldn’t breathe because I kept reliving, you know, Kenny. When Kenny got hit, I watched the news, I never put two and two together.”
For a short time on that September afternoon, Sheila only knew an unnamed trooper was hurt.
An hour would pass from the time she saw the crash coverage on television to the time she heard a knock on the door.
“I knew right then and there when I saw them,” she recalled. “They said to me, ‘Sheila, we have some bad news. And Kenny was involved in a car accident today, and he hadn’t made it.’ And I just remember I screamed at the top of my lungs and I fell to the ground.”
TFC Hall was in his cruiser, writing a ticket, when a speeding pickup crashed into him. Like TFC Miller, Hall was a Marine Corps veteran, a father, two decades into the job and just months away from retirement when he was killed.
Sheila described the state police procession that took her up Interstate 91 that day, past the scene of the deadly crash on the way to Baystate Medical Center to see her husband one last time.
First responders lined the route, a somber salute that played out again this week as TFC Miller’s body was transported from the crash scene in Tolland to the medical examiner’s office in Farmington. A painful memory to relive, Sheila said, but a comforting show of support.
“The blue line and the red line and any first responder in the public sector, this is what we do to honor our fallen,” she said. “We’re all one family. It’s forever.”
Now the community that supported TFC Hall’s loved ones prepares to embrace another grieving family.
“If you could send a message to Trooper Miller’s family and loved ones through this, what would you tell them?” NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight asked.
“I would tell them to hold on. Hold tough. Stay together as a family. And the state police will be there for you. The entire law enforcement community will be there for you. You’ll never be alone and at any time, call any one of us. We will be there for you.”
TFC Kenneth Hall was the 21st Connecticut State Trooper killed in the line of duty since 1922. TFC Kevin Miller is now the 22nd.