Local News

Church, firefighters, family mourn 'Flip' Kissinger

Posted December 11, 2009 9:00 p.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2009 10:59 p.m. EST

— The state Highway Patrol will allow the family of a Raleigh firefighter to mourn before filing charges against the driver who caused his fatal wreck, Sgt. Jeff Gordon said Friday night.

Lt. Harry P. "Flip" Kissinger IV, 35, of Wake Forest, died Friday afternoon at WakeMed.

A lieutenant at Fire Station 6 in Raleigh, Kissinger was driving home from work early on the morning of Dec. 4 when a school bus struck the pickup truck he was driving. The bus crashed into a ditch, pinning with the cab of Kissinger’s truck beneath it.

Troopers said the bus driver, Sheila Wimbush Hall, 52, of Garner, was at fault when she crossed the center line on Ligon Mill Road near Louisburg Road in Raleigh 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, is suspended with pay pending the Highway Patrol's investigation, a school system spokesman has said.

Gordon said Highway Patrol investigators will meet with the district attorney next week to determine what, if any, charges to file against Hall.

While they wait for the legal process, Kissinger’s church family raised a joyful noise in his memory Friday night.

The annual Christmas program at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest was tempered with sadness, Pastor David Sims said.

“These are very difficult times … everybody loved Flip. People wanted to be around Flip. People cared for him,” Sims said.

“We can trust God even in these difficult times that he has chosen Flip for a purpose and that will advance the kingdom and ultimately we know Flip is doing a whole lot better that we are doing right now. he's in the presence of the Lord.”

Sims said Kissinger’s wife and two daughters, while grieving, are experiencing a sense of peace because of their deep faith.

Funeral arrangements for Kissinger will be announced in the coming days.

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.