CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. — The Highway Patrol says speed was a factor in a deadly wreck along N.C. 421 north of Siler City Wednesday morning.
Tour bus driver Jerry Shackelford, 60, of Randleman, was killed. Officials say he was the only person on board the Holiday Tours bus based out of that city.
The Highway Patrol said the bus rear-ended a tractor-trailer carrying tools near Piney Grove Church Road in the Liberty community just before 5:30 a.m.
Shackelford was a retired Randolph County assistant school superintendent. He had been with Holiday Tours since January.
According to bus company officials, Shackelford had just transported troops from Baltimore to Fort Bragg and was returning the bus to the company's headquarters.
The driver of the tractor-trailer told troopers he saw the bus coming toward him.
"He noticed the headlights coming up behind him. He was in the right lane driving at a normal speed when all of a sudden he heard a big thug," said Sgt. A.W. Waddell of the state Highway Patrol.
Investigators analyzed a black box, similar to those found in planes, that was recovered from the bus.
And after a full investigation by the Highway Patrol, it was determined that Shackelford was going 66 mph and the tractor-trailer was going 45 mph.
"You've got metal against fiberglass, so you have a big impact," Waddell said.
The truck driver was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.