IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - That fatal crash that tied up traffic for hours on I-40 on Wednesday also took the life of man who has been described as a pillar in his community. 65-year-old Ward Miller was a retired bank vice-president from Winston-Salem who had a family connection to the Charleston church shooting.
Ward Miller was from Charleston, in fact, that’s where he and wife Vickie were going when that crash happened. And when the shooting happened in 2015, Ward’s cousin, Pastor Daniel Simmons, was one of the victims.
“Ward was a devoted worker, devoted husband, devoted Christian," said Donna Harper.
Harper was close friends with Ward Miller. They went to church together in Winston-Salem and worked together for years.
“His spirit was contagious, never saw him without a smile, always positive," Harper said.
Like many, she was shocked to hear that Miller died in the crash on I-40 in Iredell County. Stopped in traffic, Miller was killed when a tanker truck plowed into his SUV. Miller’s wife Vickie was also hurt but should be okay.
The Miller’s lived in a quiet neighborhood in Winston-Salem, and attended Goler Memorial AME Zion Church. Ward Miller was a retired vice-president from NewBridge, now First National Bank. he also served on various boards and committees, and was well-known in the community.
Donna Harper says friends will be there to do anything they can.
“Vickie and Ward lived here alone, no immediate family, so we just plan to be there for Vicki in whatever we can to support her during this time," Harper added.
The Highway Patrol says there was nothing Ward Miller could have done to avoid the accident. Friends, shocked at the sudden loss of someone they loved so much, say the best way to honor Ward’s memory, is to be there for his wife.
“It’s going to be a rough ride for Vickie," Harper said, "they were devoted to each other, he loved her, she loved him, you could see the love that they had for each other and the love that they had for God.”
According to the Highway Patrol, 51-year-old Charles Marlow, Jr., of Pennsylvania was the driver of the tanker truck that hit the other vehicles. The investigation is ongoing, according to troopers.