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Raleigh firefighter critical after school-bus wreck

Posted December 4, 2009
Updated December 8, 2009

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— A Raleigh firefighter driving home from work Friday morning was critically injured in a three-vehicle wreck involving a Wake County school bus.

Three injured in Wake County school bus wreck Off-duty firefighter injured in school-bus wreck

Lt. Harry P. "Flip" Kissinger IV, 35, of Wake Forest, suffered from significant injuries, including head trauma, and was taken to WakeMed, said Rusty Styons, an assistant chief with the Raleigh Fire Department.

Kissinger is a lieutenant at Fire Station 6, at Oberlin and Fairview roads, and has been with the department for 12 years, Styons said. He is married and has two daughters.

The drivers of the bus and a second car suffered minor injuries, authorities said. Seven students from Southeast Raleigh High and Centennial Middle schools, who were on the bus, were not injured.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the wreck happened at about 6:30 a.m. on Ligon Mill Road near Louisburg Road, when the bus going east, driven by Sheila Wimbush Hall, 52, of Garner, and a station wagon traveling west collided. The bus then crossed the center line, striking Kissinger's pickup truck head-on.

The bus crashed into a ditch, with the cab of the pickup crushed beneath it. It took rescuers about 45 minutes to remove Kissinger from the truck, troopers said.

The station wagon, driven by Angelica Perry, 23, of Raleigh, ended up in a driveway on the opposite side of the road and left skid marks across the road.

"A nurse was in line in traffic. She came over and helped attend to the injured guy in the pickup truck," said Tony Stutts, a resident who witnessed wreck. "There was a sheriff's deputy in line also, which was good,"

Authorities are still investigating the wreck, and it was unclear who was at fault in the crash.

Wake County Public School System spokesman Michael Evans said a supervisor went to the wreck scene, and the school system is awaiting the outcome of the wreck investigation by state troopers.

"Right now, we're cooperating with the state Highway Patrol as they investigate the scene," he said. "Then, following their decisions and the outcome of their investigation, then we'll do our investigation."

Meanwhile Friday, dozens of firefighters packed the waiting room at WakeMed waiting for news on Kissinger's condition.

"We're supposed to be out there helping people, and today the tragedy struck one of our own, and it's different to us," Styons said.

Styons said Kissinger has been working to make captain's rank.

"You know, being a firefighter is something special," Styons said. "He's just the kind of guy who makes it fun to come to work," Styons said. "He's a good family man, a great husband, father of two wonderful young daughters, and you know, we're hoping for the best."

154 Comments

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  • schoonie79 Dec 4, 2009

    Everyone lets please save the busing topic for another time. There's a firefighter in the hospital right now that is fighting for his life. Prayers to Flip, his wife and kids and Raleigh FD. It was this time last year they lost one of their own and I hope and pray that Flip will pull through.

  • jenzinnia Dec 4, 2009

    I was hoping we would have some reassuring news by now, but perhaps it is still too soon. Although I don't know Flip personally, I personally know at least a hundred just like him... The lastest update said there were dozens of firefighters in the waiting room showing their support, which I'm sure is a godsend to the immediate family (that includes Fire Station 6).
    Let's continue to pray for this family so that a son, a husband, a father, a friend, perhaps a brother, and a well respected co-worker can make it through this really bad wreck. Stay strong Flip.

  • sicks Dec 4, 2009

    The driving that is going on by these bus drivers is ridiculous to me anyways. This story grabbed my attention, these bus drivers drive WAY to fast in the fist place. Also, the people who drive them think that they are king of the road. Just this afternoon one pulled out infront of about 3 cars causing all of us in a line to have to slam on the breaks. The person who the bus pulled directly out in front of actually skidded off onto the sholder just to keep from slamming into the back of the bus.

    What is it going to take before the School Systems actually start to care about our children and there safety, and the safety of the other drivers as well!!!

  • oyid Dec 4, 2009

    Ligon Mill is a dangerous road.

  • anonymousfriend Dec 4, 2009

    I know Flip and his family personally. He is an awesome guy as well as his wife. Two wonderful people who are blessing to know. Our prayers go out to them and their family.

    On another note why the heck is a bus taking kids from Wake Forest all the way across town to Southeast Raleigh??!! Why is busing still going on?? Only in the south do we still see busing. This is one of the reasons we moved from NC. I was born and raised in the area and all of my family still resides there but we had to make a choice as to what was best for our kids. Why can't kids go to their neighborhoods school like most of america?? Our kids now walk to school where we live and attend the school that is closest to them. We have an option to 'choice in' to make it fair to have a chance to go to a better school if we so choose. I don't know... seems like the same things have been going on now for 30 years to make it 'equal' for education when the rest of america doesn't have this problem.

  • due_whats_right Dec 4, 2009

    Nancy, what policy was in place that created this accident today? If is called an accident. That is what happens. Regardless of policies, things happen. Instead of naming people and pointing fingers, why not pray for the victims? Too much like being helpful, I guess. You know, there is a enough sadness around this story without the added WCPSS finger pointing. Net of it all, it could have been worse than it was. Period.

    Praying for ALL involved!

  • whyalltheproblems Dec 4, 2009

    Life is so precious and so fragile. Prayers for everyone involved. Such an awful accident....praying for a miracle too.

  • DIGBY67 Dec 4, 2009

    I know Flip as an aquaintance...really nice guy to everyone.
    Please take a moment to send a prayer for him and his family.

  • Canes Girl Forever Dec 4, 2009

    Hoping and praying this man pulls through.

  • Smiling Dec 4, 2009

    Prayers are all that is needed at this point!! Stop nit picking the story!!

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