Another juvenile who was a passenger was able to get out of the vehicle on his own, according to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Students at the vigil said the passenger was uninjured.
The vigil was spearheaded by 18-year-old Brandon Athey, who graduated from Smithsburg High at the end of the school year.
“It just shows how much everybody loves Preston, how great of a guy he is,” said Athey, of Hagerstown. “As long as he keeps fighting, I know he’s going to make it through.”
Athey described his friend and former teammate as a “once-in-a-lifetime person.”
Social studies teacher T.J. Hood, who also coached Miller in football and track, helped to organize the vigil.
He told students Thursday night that they were gathered because of their “tenacity.”
“We cannot quit, we must be strong, we must be unrelenting in our belief that Preston will come out of this .... “ Hood said.
Miller has fought pneumonia and blood clots, but also has shown signs of recovery such as responding to commands and wiping his face, according to Hood.
“He’s got a battle ahead of him — there’s no way around saying that,” said Hood, who described Miller as “the life of the party.”
Senior Victoria Ferguson said anytime Miller is missing from class, his absence is largely apparent.
“He would comment on everything — but in a good way,” said Ferguson, 17, of Smithsburg.
Messages like “The whole school is praying, stay strong” were jotted down on a red piece of parchment.
Donations for Miller’s family were also collected at the vigil.
Hood said an additional fundraiser will be held Aug. 25 at the restaurant 28 South in downtown Hagerstown.
Indoor and outdoor throws coach Tara Knable also spoke during the vigil.
“Preston has touched my life more than any kid I have met,” she said.
Knable said she talked to Miller’s mother Wednesday and was told he was moving his right side. Knable said that meant Miller was “dreaming of throwing a shotput.”
“He never quits,” she said.
Hood joked that it’s “hard to get people from Smithsburg” to wear red, which is North Hagerstown High School’s color.
“The community comes together on things like this,” Hood said.
“Hopefully, also it will in a way get some of these kids who are out here to realize there are consequences ... as great as it is to see the support of the community, if I never do another one of these again I’ll be very content,” Hood said.