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Elsie firefighter Zachary Miller hit and killed by 17-year-old driver

Elsie Area Fire Dept. "Rest in Peace" Zach Miller
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jan 19, 2022

BINGHAM TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Elsie Area Fire Department firefighter Zachary Miller was struck and killed by a vehicle Tuesday morning at the scene of a car accident on M-21 just west of U.S. 127 in Bingham Township.

"Zach was kind of the perfect firefighter candidate. He was always here at meetings, always here at training, very active with the department," Elsie Area Fire Department Assistant Chief Shane Grinnell said. "If we had a call, I guarantee he was coming."

Miller, 20, was on his way to his full-time job when he got in an accident with a vehicle driven by a 20-year-old woman from Maple Rapids.

"There were two girls in the vehicle," Clinton County Administrative Lieutenant Jeff Clarke said.

As the women were pulling out of a Michigan Department of Transportation parking lot onto M-21, another vehicle blocked them from making a left turn.

"So they stopped right in the roadway," Clarke said.

The vehicle collided with Miller's pickup truck.

Clarke said Miller was not at fault by any means.

"And he was going out and checking the other people in the other vehicle," Grinnell said.

"Everyone got out of the vehicles. Everyone was okay," Clarke said. "There was no injuries, no nothing."

Miller and a bystander were standing between their trucks with their hazard lights on in the passing lane when a westbound vehicle driven by a 17-year-old girl from Ovid hit them.

"In that area, there is no lighting whatsoever," Clarke said. "She was on her way to school in St. Johns...she did not see these people standing there whatsoever."

Clarke said deputies were dispatched at 7:20 a.m. The bystander wasn't seriously hurt.

"Mr. Miller, being struck, went into the air — landing several feet down the roadway," Clarke said.

Miller was taken to Sparrow Clinton Hospital, where he died from his injuries. Clarke said the accident is still under investigation.

"Zach was one of our hometown guys. He lived here and grew up here, graduated high school from Ovid-Elsie, big wrestler, played football and started with our department when he was 16 years old as a cadet, worked his way up and just last June graduated the fire academy," Grinnell said. "We had 25 guys in here last night that are going through a difficult time."

The Fire Auxiliary is looking for volunteers to provide meals for Miller's parents and two teenage siblings for the next couple of weeks. For questions, contact Hanna Grinnell at (989) 292-2704.

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