By Christine Dempsey The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD, Conn. — Kevin Miller, the state trooper who died in a crash on I-84 Thursday, was remembered Friday as a good officer and a good father.

“He was a good trooper. I think he was a better man,” Enfield Police Chief Alaric Fox said. Fox is a former state police colonel who used to command the Troop C barracks in Tolland, where Miller was assigned. Fox also trained Miller at the police academy.

Fox said Miller didn’t seem to experience the job fatigue that people sometimes feel after years on the job, no matter what profession.

“He always had a kind word, always respectful toward me,” Fox said. “He was not a kick-the-trash-can kind of guy. He went out there every day and did his job. He was one of the good guys.”

Miller was five months away from his 20th anniversary with the state police, which would have made him eligible for retirement, Fox said.

He died when his police car crashed into the back of a tractor trailer between exits 68 and 69 in Tolland early Thursday afternoon. Police are still investigating the crash, but said in a preliminary report that both vehicles were heading east in the highway’s right lane at the time of the collision. The truck was traveling “at a slower speed than the flow of traffic,” the report said.

The autopsy showed that Miller died of blunt trauma, and that his death was an accident, a medical examiner’s spokeswoman said.

The stretch of highway was closed for more than eight hours while investigators gathered evidence and took measurements. A procession of state troopers went to the scene of the crash to retrieve Miller’s body and bring him back to Troop C for a memorial service. The procession then headed west on I-84 to the medical examiner’s office in Farmington.

Police officers and firefighters from towns and cities along the route lined up on the side of the highway and on overpasses and saluted as the procession passed. Some towns unfurled large U.S. flags to honor the trooper.

The 49-year-old leaves behind a son and a daughter — children he was known to talk about at work.

A man who lives in Miller’s Coventry neighborhood said Miller was a good neighbor and a good father. Children from the neighborhood played ball together, often in the Millers’ yard, said the man, who didn’t want to be named.

“From the summer sounds in that yard, they all enjoyed life,” he said.

©2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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