Local News

Driver Apologizes for Fatal Christmas Day Crash

Posted January 2, 2007

— It happened in a split second that he said he does not even remember, but a Raleigh man says the deadly crash he caused on Christmas Day is something he will never forget.

Billy Ray Bullock Jr. is a man with a heavy heart. He was behind the wheel of his sport utility vehicle when he lost control of it on Highway 64 near Wendell.

Authorities said Bullock crossed the median and ran into a car driven by Charles Burger. The accident killed Burger's wife and son and left him in critical condition.

Bullock suffered minor bumps and bruises. He said the only thing he remembers is delivering gifts to family members on Christmas Day.

"I went to my sister-in-law's house to drop off a gift for my niece. Then, I started back to Raleigh and the next thing I know, I'm at WakeMed, waking up at WakeMed," he said.

Bullock said the public apology that he faxed to WRAL was his way of reaching out to the Burger family.

"Being the way the accident happened, I felt I should, at least, say something to Mr. Burger and his family," he said.

Bullock said the accident is an experience he will have to live with the rest of his life. He said his hope and prayer is that Burger will, one day, forgive him.

"I don't know what happened and I want to find out what might have happened to cause me to black out," Bullock said.

No charges have been filed in this case. Burger remains in critical condition at WakeMed.

His family declined to comment on Bullock's apology.

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

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  • jwitbltlwp Jan 13, 2007

    I think that Billy Ray needs to be held accountable for his actions. That's not to say that he's a bad person, it just means that he needs to face the facts. Nobody but Billy Ray decided how fast he would drive on Christmas day. And he chose to drive at a speed at which he could (obviously) not control his car. Its just that simple.

    I hope that the courts impose a fair sentance. Fair to me would mean:

    1. Loss of license for at least one year.
    2. AT LEAST 30 days (of the 120 allowed) in Jail.
    3. AT LEAST 240 hours of community service perhaps divided between:
    a. 80 hours at WakeMed's Critical Neuro waiting room
    b. 80 hours telling his story at drivers education classes
    c. 80 hours as a funeral home usher at head on car crash victim viewings

    It seems that would be very fair and reasonable.

    There's already been a huge tragedy. I hope the DA's office and the courts don't make another one by not imposing some real consequences to Billy Rays tragic choice to drive too fast

  • latonyabmay18 Jan 3, 2007

    I can't believe that people would get this ignorant about something so tragic. These two families both are having their lives turned upside down. I can almost guess that Billy hasn't given a personal apology to the family, because he is respecting them greiving. Would you want to talk to the person that took three members of your family right know, I wouldn't. They are still trying to accept what has just happened. I know Billy's family and they are respectable christian people in their community. Know one wants to live with this tragic memory but it will happen for both families. Billy's father was killed in a tragic accident as well so he does understand what pain the Burger's are feeling. He is truly sincere with his apology. To say he is trying to gain the public's sympathy is just ignorant. What the public would probably do, is embrace both families. That is what GOD would want done. People need to let GOD do his job on Jugdement Day. Things happen that are no control of ours.

  • bhurrelbrink71 Jan 3, 2007

    sign5927, you are right this is an open forum. It is a place to voice opinions. My opinion of this matter is that Mr. Bullock should NOT go to prison. This whole situation is based on assumption not fact. The real facts are this is an accident that could have been prevented if the STATE would have gotten off their lazy you know whats, and fixed the cable system in the median. Also a persons past driving record is irrelevant in a case like this. I can't imagine any of us who have NEVER got caught speeding, or for some moving violation. Billy sent out a heartfelt apology to the Burgers, who are we to condem a man who does this. Also are any of us Dr's that have examined him, how do you know that Billy blacking out isn't true. Billy, again I say you are loved and your friends and family are behind you all the way. May God Bless all parties involved on both sides.

  • sign59727 Jan 3, 2007

    These continuous posts to WRAL.com showing support of Bullock only serves to make Bullock look somewhat guilty. Bullock has a long history of speeding and reckless driving and I can understand why he and they are worried but this display will not help him and may even make it worse for his case. The accusation of racism is totally absurd and nobody has slandered Bullock by any of their comments. I doubt anyone would post any response if there wasn’t this constant barrage of posts by these people. If they want to support Bullock there is NO reason they can't do it PRIVATELY but to do it so publically, readers can’t help but wonder about the motives. To do so in this public forum after what happen to the bereaved family is insensitive and showing disrespect to them and yes, it does look like it an attempt to build a defense.

  • princess1088 Jan 3, 2007

    You people are being very ignorant to all of the this, know your facts. First, in NC driving above the safe speed limit does NOT mean you were above the posted speed limit for weather conditions. Billy is not a reckless driver and who are you all to judge someone by their past? Only GOD himself can judge! I am sure all of you on here to quick to criticize have drove above posted speed before and have done other wrong things but maybe just haven't been caught(yet!) Billy does NOT deserve to be behind bars! It was an (accident) not an intenional act. But foremost Billy's apology was very and highly sincere! It takes courage to announce to the world that you are sorry! And, no, but sorry, you are WRONG this is not the beginning of his defense! Stop slandering and just pray to God for all your forgivness for judging which is God's job. Stop being so hateful and seeming to me,racist! Sorry that Billy is not wealthy and highly recogized but he is a great person and that's all that matters...

  • mhance Jan 2, 2007

    10 speeding convictions
    1 reckless endangerment charge- reduced
    Was walking around the scene of the "accident" that killed 2 people feeling "a little sore"?

    Billy Ray, thanks so much for admitting your guilt on TV! Why else ask for Mr. Burger's forgiveness? Not guilty? Why apologize now? Save your best act for the sentencing hearing I hope to attend! Don't worry; Charlie Burger, unlike you, truly will never ever remember what you did to him and his precious family.

    I hope you do eventually remember what caused you to "black out" . I'm sure the detectives will be very interested also to learn at what moment in time you actually did "black out". Was it when the chill of jail time first ran up your spine? Hopefully you will have many years in prison struggling toward that memory. Sorry? Yes you are truly "sorry" in the full Southern sense of that term.

  • Peter the Pony Jan 2, 2007

    Oh please!! This guy isn't sorry about killing anyone! He is only sorry for what is to come in his own life! If he cared anything about anyone but himself, he would not have been speeding and driving recklessly in the first place. There were other people on that road besides himself, but he did not seem to care one bit. To go on TV to voice a public apology is laughable. If he was truly sorry, he would be sending a personal apology directly to the family of the victims -- not trying to gain sympathy votes from gullible strangers watching his story on TV. People like this guy need to own up to their reckless selves and be put beyond bars!

  • DOG Jan 2, 2007

    I wonder how sincere Mr. Bullock really is. It sounds to me that he is already preparing his defense. I DON'T REMEMBER I also was on the road Christmas Day and I remember it was raining. I SLOWED down and made it home safely.

  • bhurrelbrink Jan 2, 2007

    To the Burger family, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in this time of sorrow. Billy, we are very proud of you for reaching out. You are a wonderful person, and the gracious Lord our father is certainly in your heart. You are also in our thoughts and prayers, as you go through this time of crisis. We love you and are here for you for anything that you may need.

  • daddysgirl2730 Jan 2, 2007

    Billy- It took alot of heart and courage for you to get on live TV and ask for forgivness. I hope that the Burger family has the same heart and courage to forgive you. Forgivness is in the Bible.We cannot change fate but we can change our hearts. I know it is hard to forget but it is good to forgive. With love and well-being to all involved in this terrible tragedy. May God bless all of you!
    With Love, Brent, Carrie and your Goddaughter Melissa