NEWCASTLE, Wyo. (AP) - About 500 people, including many firefighters and other emergency personnel, attended the funeral of a 16-year-old girl killed when the fire truck she was riding in wrecked while on a fire call.
Firefighters carried student firefighter Anndee Huber's flag-draped coffin from a packed memorial service at Newcastle High School and placed it on a 1935 fire truck for one last ride Tuesday.
The 16-year-old died last Thursday when the fire truck she was riding in rolled.
The driver, Ron. J. Caillier, of Newcastle, is accused of being legally drunk at the time and is charged with aggravated homicide. Caillier, who was treated for cuts and scratches, had previously been convicted of driving under the influence and had been suspended from the Newcastle Volunteer Fire Department for a departmental alcohol violation.
Classmates and others remembered Huber as a well-liked straight shooter who was forward with people, spoke her mind and was a spark that enlivened the northeastern Wyoming community of 3,065.
"She died serving the community she loved," classmate David Crow said during the funeral.
A sophomore, Huber was class president and a student council representative. She had the respect of all who knew her, perhaps in part because she persisted at everything she did - even if she wasn't all that good at it, like cross-country running, he said.
"But she never gave up," he said. "She was always doing something for the rest of us and trying to make things better," Crow said.
Huber was also the secretary for the Explorer program at the Newcastle Volunteer Fire Department. It is a program organized by the Boy Scouts of America to get young people involved with their local fire departments.
Before the funeral, Newcastle Volunteer Fire Department Chief Clarence Baker said Huber was very ambitious. The rest of the crew seemed to light up when she was around, he said.
Jeffrey Singer, also a 16-year-old Explorer at the fire department, gathered with fellow crew members at the station before the funeral. Singer said he remembered Huber's devotion to firefighting.
"It's one of the things she loved to do. She was more devoted than most of us and tried to make it to every fire call," Singer said, adding that Huber devoutly attended all of the less-exciting meetings and training events.
Kevin Huber, Anndee's older brother, thanked the firefighters who attended, and said fire houses from Florida, New York, New Jersey, Colorado and all over the U.S. have called to offer their condolences.
Meantime, Wyoming Department of Transportation records show that Caillier was arrested May 12, 2002, on a DUI charge and convicted four months later. He had his driver's license suspended for 90 days, regaining his driving privileges on Sept. 8.
Baker said he had told Caillier he could not drive fire vehicles. Local city and county policies prohibit a person convicted of a DUI from operating government-owned vehicles.
Baker said Caillier had a pager and reported to the firehouse when he heard a fire call on Thursday night.
Another volunteer firefighter, Todd Pisciotti, was in the cab of the truck with Caillier but gave up his seat so that Huber could ride in the truck, Baker said.
He said Pisciotti told investigators that he had not smelled alcohol on Caillier. Baker said Caillier was not drinking at the firehouse at any time on Thursday.
Police said Caillier overcorrected after the 1981 tanker truck drifted off the shoulder of a county road and rolled. Huber was ejected and pinned under the truck's cab.
Neither Caillier or Huber were wearing seat belts, police said.
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