MARYVILLE, IL (KTVI) – The St. Louis area roller derby community is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Samantha Miller of Swansea was struck and killed along Interstate 55/70 near Maryville, Illinois Thursday night. She was known as Slam Van Diesel #1988 and played for Confluence Crush Roller Derby team in Belleville.
According to the Madison County Coroner’s Office, Miller was heading east on Interstate 55/70 when she had car trouble around 8:00 pm. She pulled to the shoulder and got out of the car. That’s when when she was then struck by a pickup truck. The truck also struck Miller’s car with her three children inside.
Miller, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her children, ages three, six, and eight, were transported to the hospital for treatment. The three-year-old is being treated for a skull fracture. No other information was made available on the conditions of the other kids.
Illinois State Police arrested the driver of the pick-up, 38-year-old Steven Willis, at the scene. The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Willis with one count of aggravated driving under the influence and another count of aggravated driving while under the influence causing a death. Willis remains in custody at Madison County Jail in Edwardsville on $200,000 bond.
If convicted of both charges, Willis could face up to 10 years in prison.
Miller was a single parent, working two jobs, and going to college. A GoFundMe account has been started to help with funeral expenses and other costs.
On Facebook, the Confluence Crush Roller Derby team said in part:
“Slam will be remembered for her hard work and dedication to our league. Not only was she at almost every practice, but she filled league roles like attendance tracker, helping out to set up events, inter league committee, and our newly elected Smitten Kittens, B-Team CoCaptain. She was always at league events ready to promote CCRD and have fun with her derby sisters. Slam embodied Crush, and everything the league stands for.
Not only was she dedicated to derby, but to her family as well. Slam leaves behind three children. Our hearts go out to Slam’s family.”