As His Family Mourns, Officer Is Laid To Rest Eugene J. Miglio 3d Was The Fourth To Die In The Line Of Duty Since April 20. Hundreds Paid Their Respects.

Posted: June 07, 1995

LOWER TOWNSHIP — The stream of a widow's tears, children too young to comprehend fully the loss of their father, the echo of bagpipes droning "Amazing Grace," a seemingly endless line of solemn men in blue.

This was the scene yesterday - one that has become almost a common one in southern New Jersey in the last six weeks - as relatives, friends, fellow officers and total strangers gathered to say goodbye to Wildwood Crest Patrolman Eugene J. Miglio 3d.

The patrolman, the fourth South Jersey law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since April 20, was laid to rest in Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery in the Cold Spring section of this township following a lengthy funeral procession.

Miglio, 42, died of a heart attack following a scuffle with a suspect during a motor vehicle stop.

More than 1,200 mourners, including about 850 police officers from throughout the East Coast, lined Seaview Avenue in Wildwood Crest in front of the Church of the Assumption throughout the late morning and early afternoon to pay their last respects.

A funeral service followed in which Miglio was remembered by colleagues as a friend and a "guardian-style cop." The officer was dressed in full uniform in a casket surrounded by family photographs and crayon-drawn pictures with the words "I love you Daddy."

Gov. Whitman was among the mourners who comforted Miglio's widow, Barbara Danner-Miglio, and their children, Anna, 6, and Eugene Jr., 5.

"It shows everyone very, very clearly how much we owe these men and women who have sworn to uphold the law and who put their lives in jeopardy every single day," Whitman said. "It doesn't have to be anything dramatic - it's running radar, it's making a stop by the side of the road - when they put their lives on the line. And there is no way we can ever really thank these people for what they do."

Janet Hicks, 35, of the Rio Grande section of the township, has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault in connection with Miglio's death. Hicks, a waitress at a donut shop, remains in Cape May County Jail on $250,000 cash bail set by Superior Court Judge Carmen Alvarez.

Hicks was the passenger in a car driven by her brother, Alan Miscavage, 31, of Glassboro, who was stopped about 3:20 a.m. Friday for allegedly speeding and driving erratically.

Police say Hicks got out of the car and began interfering with Wildwood Crest Patrolman William Kita as he attempted to handcuff Miscavage after the

suspect tried to swallow a marijuana cigarette and flee.

When Miglio arrived at the scene to back up Kita, Hicks attempted to run off but was captured by the officer after a brief chase, according to police. Miglio handcuffed Hicks and was attempting to place her in the rear of the police car when she began to struggle, authorities said. Miglio suffered abrasions to the front of his head, according to Cape May County Prosecutor Stephen Moore.

He said Miglio suddenly collapsed during the struggle with Hicks. He was rushed to Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:25 a.m. On Saturday, an initial coroner's autopsy revealed that Miglio died of a heart attack and suffered from heart disease.

Following the hour-long funeral service yesterday, hundreds gathered outside the church as Miglio's mahogany casket was brought outside where police officers stood in formation to honor their fallen colleague.

Little boys on bicycles watched silently; little girls accompanying their parents wept quietly. The only sound was the static of police radios reporting incidents elsewhere.

One such earlier incident involved New Jersey State Trooper Marvin R. McCloud, 31, of Westville, who died yesterday of injuries suffered after the car he was driving Monday was struck by a motorist who allegedly was speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike.

"I certainly don't want to use the word trend, but it is horrifying what has been happening to officers in the line of duty," said Chief David Marantz, president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. "I think it's stemming from a basic lack of respect that people are showing for police officers. I've never seen the likes of this before."

At the graveside, the family placed red roses atop Miglio's casket as the Emerald Society Pipes and Drum bagpipe corps played "Going Home."

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