The Paris Police Department is investigating the death of a Tennessee College of Applied Technology student as the result of an incident two weeks ago on the Paris campus.
Chris Miller, 19, of Big Rock in Stewart County suffered serious head injuries in a fall Feb. 5 in the parking lot of the vocational school parking lot in Paris. He died Feb. 12 at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.
Paris Police Asst. Chief Ean Reed said Thursday the department is looking into whether there was any kind of action that may have been criminal that led to Miller’s death.
“We’re reviewing it and talking to witnesses to see what happened,” Reed said.
Miller was a student in an auto body class at the school.
He and other class members were taking trash away from the school in a pickup truck on the afternoon of Feb. 5, not long before school was to be dismissed for the day, Reed said.
Indications are that there were other students in the bed of the truck, and that Miller was on the tailgate. At some point, he fell off the tailgate and was injured.
Social media posts from Miller’s family said 911 was called and ambulance workers treated him at the scene before he was airlifted to Vanderbilt with severe brain trauma.
Reed said the city police were not alerted about the case until the next day. In the original 911 call, there had been no indication a vehicle was involved in the incident, which is usually a trigger for the PPD to respond.
Usually, EMS workers will also tell the police a vehicle was involved if they learn that’s the case while at the scene; but in this case, that didn’t happen.
Reed said the police department found out about the incident from Miller’s sister the next day.
Miller spent several days in a medically induced coma at Vanderbilt before his death.
Miller was on the autism spectrum and was known in Stewart County for having created a comic strip character when he was in middle school.
That character was known as Captain Spectrum, a superhero who helped children who had been bullied.
Reed said the PPD’s ongoing investigation is looking into whether there was any kind of wrongdoing that might have led to Miller’s death.
Rick Locker, communications director for the Tennessee Board of Regents, which oversees the TCAT system statewide, released a statement about Miller’s death.
“The faculty, staff and students of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Paris — and the entire College System of Tennessee — are deeply saddened to learn of the passing … of Chris Miller, a student of the college who was injured in an accident there … Our condolences to Chris’ family and friends, who are in thoughts and prayers,” the statement reads.