Local News

Bus driver charged in wreck that killed firefighter

Posted December 14, 2009 9:30 a.m. EST
Updated December 14, 2009 3:16 p.m. EST

— 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.