Local News

Bus driver charged in wreck that killed firefighter

Posted December 14, 2009

— The state Highway Patrol on Monday charged a Wake County school bus driver in a recent wreck that killed a Raleigh firefighter.

Sheila Wimbush Hall, 52, of Garner, was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in a Dec. 4 wreck on Ligon Mill Road near Louisburg Road in north Raleigh, said Sgt. Jeff Gordon of the Highway Patrol.

Lt. Harry P. "Flip" Kissinger IV, 35, of Wake Forest, died Friday afternoon from injuries he suffered in the wreck.

A lieutenant at Fire Station 6 in Raleigh, Kissinger was driving home from work when a school bus struck his pickup truck. The bus crashed into a ditch, pinning with the cab of the truck beneath it.

Troopers said Hall was at fault when she crossed the center line on Ligon Mill Road and collided with a westbound station wagon, then continued into the oncoming lane, striking Kissinger's truck.

Investigators determined that neither alcohol nor speed was a factor.

Hall, who was hired by the Wake County Public School System in May 2006, resigned Friday, school district spokesman Michael Evans said. She had been suspended with pay since the wreck.

"I appreciate the concerns," she said when asked how she was coping.

The charge against Hall is a misdemeanor. Given Hall's clean driving record, she would likely not serve any jail time if convicted. The most likely sentence would be community service or probation, authorities said.

Raleigh Fire Marshal W. Rusty Styons declined to comment on the charge filed against Hall, saying it would be inappropriate to do so.

Pastor David Sims, of Richland Creek Community Church, said the Kissinger family sympathized with Hall. "I know Flip would be the first one to offer his sympathy ... She must be hurting tremendously," he said.

Sims will officiate a funeral for Kissinger at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the church, 3229 Burlington Mills Road in Wake Forest. The family will accept visitors from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at the church.

A fund has been established in his name to help care for his family, according to a city-issued news release Friday. Donations to the "Kissinger Family Care Fund" can be made at any First Citizens Bank.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • johnnybgood Dec 15, 2009

    she is not grossly negligent. she didn't purposely seek out to injure or kill anyone. it was a tragic accident.

  • LocalYokel Dec 14, 2009

    yes citizen782, the bus driver was grossly negligent and it angers me that this firefighter needlessly died because of it. conscious=yes, as a school bus driver she is aware of her liabilities; voluntary=yes, no one made her cross the center line and it was her fault; foreseeable=yes, everyone knows the physics behind a car vs bus collision. I'll see you in court.

  • james27613 Dec 14, 2009

    Great thing Trial by Jury in the USA.

    If we had Trial by GOLO that would be bad.

  • wildcat Dec 14, 2009

    The bus driver should have already been charged.

  • WRALblows Dec 14, 2009

    "This bus driver killed someone with her gross negligence." - Local Yokel

    The legal definition of Gross Negligence:

    "Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both."

    So Yokel, note the words "conscious and voluntary" and "foreseeable". Your argument wouldn't even get into the courtroom. Quit using legal terminology you are not familiar with to support your angry rant.

  • BEACH Dec 14, 2009

    Prayers for both of these families. I pray for the Bus Driver, she had to live with this.My heart goes out to each family.

  • UNC81 Dec 14, 2009

    Bad situation all around. The charge was probably appropriate given the case. We're praying for both families.

    As far as from a legal perspective...

  • ncmedic201 Dec 14, 2009

    Pastor David Sims, of Richland Creek Community Church, said the Kissinger family sympathized with Hall. "I know Flip would be the first one to offer his sympathy ... She must be hurting tremendously," he said.

    What a loving and compassionate family!!!

  • whyalltheproblems Dec 14, 2009

    Awesome point, bronzegodess.

    Not one of us is immune to making mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes have bigger consequences. Look back over what you've done...the times you've talked or texted while driving, driving home from a bar/party when you really shouldn't have..and got home safely.

    Those of you who are being so judegmental, please stop. Pray for EVERYONE involved.

  • uknowsomuch Dec 14, 2009

    So let's dispel some of the guesswork here, ok? A drug and alcohol test is standard protocol for at-fault accidents with WCPSS.

    Now, for all of you "perfect" drivers out there...if you've ever sneezed while driving, you know that you can cross the line. If you have ever looked into your rear view mirror to see what your child is screaming or crying about....think of the potential consequences! Now imagine a ten foot wide vehicle on a ten foot wide lane like Ligon Mill.

    As for Flip and his families...you have lost someone dear. We cannot know the depth of your sorrow, but know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Many of us have lost someone, but not under the same circumstances. Love, prayers and support to you all.