At approximately 3:50 a.m. on July 15, 2009, the Fauquier County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Department dispatched units to investigate a reported motor vehicle accident on Bristerburg Road.
According to the official report, upon arrival the deputies located a deceased male subject in a ditch on the west side of the road. The individual was laying on his back, clad in a T-shirt and boxer shorts which were down around his ankles. There was trauma to his entire body. The deputies also reported that a Miller Lite beer can was lying on top of the dead man. Blue jeans found near the body contained a driver’s license identifying the deceased as 19-year-old Heath Miller.
Further investigation led to a spot where Miller’s vehicle, a 2002 Saturn, had left the road and struck a tree. The engine compartment separated from the car and remained by the tree. The rest of the vehicle had continued on, struck a fence and came to rest in an open field. A thorough search of the area by responders found no other victims.
Based on those observations, the officers determined that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed. When Miller tried to negotiate a curve the vehicle went into a skid and he lost control, resulting in the deadly chain of events.
Subsequent analysis of the Saturn’s operational control module by the police showed that the car’s speed was 101 miles per hour five seconds before the crash, and that the brakes were activated approximately two seconds prior to impact.
On the surface, Heath Miller’s death appeared to be a tragic accident with human error as the main contributing factor.
But Sharon Miller, Heath’s mother, isn’t convinced of that. On the contrary, based on the results of her ongoing investigation she believes there was another vehicle on the scene that night. And that her son may have been fleeing from that other car.
Among her concerns about the accuracy of the police findings is the Miller Lite beer can. Her son did not drink and was anal about not drinking. That fact aside, if no one else was at the scene, how could that can have possibly ended sitting upright on his abdomen? In Sharon’s mind, the can had to have been placed there by another person.
And what about Heath’s boots? He was wearing a pair of Dickie Classic Boots that night. In spite of the thorough search of the scene, they were never found. But the boots weren’t all that was missing. A white sock and his teeth disappeared, too. Approximately 20 of Heath’s teeth were removed below the gum line and never accounted for.
On top of that, an accident reconstruction specialist who examined the evidence said that some of the results cited by the police would have been impossible to have happened.
Sharon Miller is seeking answers that may never come. However, there will be no resolution for her until all the outstanding issues are explained to her satisfaction.