Trooper Joshua D. Miller
June 13, 1974 - June 7, 2009
Joshua D. Miller was born June 13, 1974, to parents Walter and Peggy Miller. Joshua graduated from Pittston Area High School in 1992, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993, serving honorably and achieving the rank of Corporal prior to his discharge.
Joshua enlisted with the Pennsylvania State Police on September 30, 2002, and graduated on April 16, 2003. Upon graduation, Trooper Miller was assigned to Troop M, Bethlehem, Northampton County, and later transferred to Troop N, Swiftwater.
Trooper Miller lost his life on June 7, 2009, in a gun battle in northeastern Pennsylvania. The incident began when police officers in Nazareth, Northampton County, responded to a reported Protection from Abuse Order violation in which Daniel Autenrieth, 31, abducted his nine-year-old son at gunpoint and drove from the scene. The suspect led municipal and state police on a 40-mile pursuit through Northampton and Monroe counties before the fleeing vehicle was brought to a stop in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County.
As Trooper Miller and Trooper Robert J. Lombardo approached the driver’s side of Autenrieth’s vehicle and attempted to extract him, Autenrieth opened fire, hitting Troopers Miller and Lombardo who then returned fire, killing the suspect.
During the gun fight, Autenrieth’s son was successfully removed unharmed from the passenger’s side of the vehicle by fellow officers. Trooper Miller succumbed to his gunshot wounds later that day, while Trooper Lombardo would recover.
Over 1,500 law enforcement officers from New Jersey to California were in attendance at Trooper Miller’s memorial service at the Pittston Area High School Stadium on June 12, 2009.
Governor Edward G. Rendell noted: “Trooper Miller died carrying out his sworn duty to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth." "Midge and I join with all residents of Pennsylvania in extending our deepest sympathies to Trooper Miller's wife, Angela, and their three children."
Governor Rendell also expressed his concern for Trooper Lombardo, who was wounded during the incident. "The death of Trooper Miller and the wounding of Trooper Lombardo remind us all once again of the dangers that our law enforcement officers face each day," Governor Rendell said.
Noting that Trooper Miller would have celebrated his 35th birthday on June 13, 2009, Pennsylvania State Police Colonel Frank E. Pawlowski said, "Trooper Miller's death is a tremendous loss for the Department. His actions will never be forgotten."
Trooper Miller is survived by his wife, Angela, and their three daughters: Justine, age 16; Breana, age 13; and Joslyn, age 2. He is also survived by his mother, Peggy Hurysh and his stepfather, Michael Hurysh; stepmother, Laurie Blake; sisters Kelly Naples and Season Hurysh; and brothers Jeremy, Daniel, Joel, and Jacob Miller. Trooper Miller was preceded in death by his father, Walter, in 1998.
At 34 years of age, Trooper Miller was the 92nd member of the Department to be killed in the line of duty.
Trooper Miller is buried in the Lacey Street Cemetery, Laceyville, Pennsylvania.