Local News

Police: State Employee Charged In Fatal Accident Was Drinking On Job

Posted September 24, 2004

— A man charged in connection with a fatal accident was drinking at the time of the crash, according to police.

Police say 52-year-old Robert Goodwin was driving a state-owned dump truck and was on duty Thursday when he crossed the median on Highway 64 in Apex and hit head-on into Hayun Chen's minivan. Chen later died at UNC Hospitals. Her two kids, ages 2 and 4, were treated and released.

Investigators said they found a beer can near the truck.

"There was also the smell of a malt beverage and sign of malt beverage that were spilt on the floodboard on the driver's side," said Officer W.T. Allen, of the Apex Police Department.

Police also found a receipt in the truck for beer purchased Thursday morning. A passenger in the dump truck was also treated and released at the hospital.

Goodwin is charged with second-degree murder, DWI and crossing the center lane. He is being held in the Wake County Jail without bond. He appeared in court Friday. He had been a maintenance mechanic at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind since 1985. He resigned on Friday.

Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said the department is doing its own investigation.

"This violated our zero-tolerance policy for alcohol use of any sort," she said. "We're talking to every person who came in contact with him yesterday to see if anyone had any inkling of what was going on."

Court records show Goodwin was convicted of DWI in 1997. Since his position did not require a special license, the state said the prior conviction did not come into play. However, the state is now looking at revamping that policy.

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