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State Policies Broken in Fatal I-40 Wreck

Posted July 12, 2007
Updated July 13, 2007

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— Supervisors of a prison work crew violated state policy before a Tuesday wreck in which an inmate died in the Interstate 40 median.

Charles G. Wilson, 31, was part of a work crew from Wake Correctional Center that was picking up trash in the I-40 median near Lake Wheeler Road on Tuesday morning when a sport utility vehicle went out of control, clipped an empty prison van on the highway shoulder and skidded into the median. The SUV flipped on top of Wilson and injured a second inmate and a correction officer.

The driver of the SUV, Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, 37, of Clinton, was charged Thursday morning with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with Wilson's death.

Beaujeu-Dufour is the son-in-law of former U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth. He is scheduled to appear in court on the charge on Aug. 16.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy. It was a terrible accident. He and his family grieve for Mr. Wilson's family and those injured," his attorney, Doug Parsons, said in a statement.

But witnesses said the Department of Correction also was at fault for not warning drivers that the inmate crew was in the area.

"Signs are a big deal because we didn't even know they were there until we were passing them," said Cammie Gage, who helped roll the SUV off of Wilson with her friend, Kelly Snow.

"Just the thought of him lying there after the car rolled off him and he gasped for air – it was very hard," Snow said.

The Department of Correction is investigating the incident and reviewing policies on inmate work crews, spokesman Keith Acree said.

The trailer that carries the signs was in the shop, so the crew went to work without them – against department policy, Acree said.

"The signs are required. We know they should have been there. We're trying to find answers as to what happened that morning that they didn't take them with them," he said. He added, however, "Even if the signs had been there, is it something that would have stopped this?"

Wilson's relatives said they hold the department responsible for his death.

"I hold them accountable as well as the driver," said his sister, Markeita Wilson. "They didn't have the proper equipment to go out and pick up trash. They shouldn't have (gone). To me, they didn't care that humans were going out there. They didn't care about safety."

Family members also said Beaujeu-Dufour should face a more serious charge in the case. They questioned whether he is getting special treatment because of his ties to Faircloth.

Raleigh police deny the family's allegation.

255 Comments

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  • bpstation14 Jul 14, 2007

    rpd911 I hope you don't work with the police department because it the way your speaking would make me believe it one disgraceful department.

  • rpd911 Jul 14, 2007

    ncdixie1 : just because the fellow was incarcerated does not make him less of a person either

    Um yeh it does!

  • ncyankee Jul 13, 2007

    ireckon - ireckon your right! Very valid point.

  • ireckon Jul 13, 2007

    I have failed to see any postings on the true common denominator of this tragedy. Yes, car accidents do occur from mere carelessness without intent to break a law. Yes, the prison detail was a victim of tragic coincidence. It could have been anyone from DOT workers, prisoners, guards, volunteers, Boy Scouts, or an Adopt-A-Highway crew that could fall victim to an accident that occurs at the wrong place and wrong time. Plain and simple…LITTER KILLS. It is a thoughtless act with potentially dire consequences. Those wishing to place blame may need to do some soul searching if they have ever carelessly lost or intentionally tossed trash from a car. If you have ever littered, you are just as to blame. If you don’t litter, encourage others not to.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 13, 2007

    "I must also say that WRAL you have never discusted me more than ever."

    I'm guessing this person meant "disgusted", not discusted. Even so, what does never more than ever mean? That doesn't make sense.

  • ncyankee Jul 13, 2007

    Thanks cmama. My point exactly. Everyone needs to remember the old saying "never say never".

  • ncyankee Jul 13, 2007

    "Life" is a hugu deal and during the course of it things happen to even the most "reasonable" of us. Like why does one house get hit by the tree during a storm and not the neighbors? I call it part of the bigger plan that we arn't always privy too. You can call it what you like, but i"m sure that everyone of us at one time or another in our life has had something happen to us that we had little or no controll over. The same goes for this unfortunate situation. We weren,t there and we don't know. But,there is still the issue of the child being in the car and I know for a fact that this man as well as the majority of people that have children would never indanger them intentionally.

  • cmama Jul 13, 2007

    I really do not get how some of you say you NEVER accidentally could lose control of a vehicle. This man had his young son in the vehicle with him so therefore I doubt he would intentional do anything that would put his child at risk. Also, how would he know to watch out ahead when there was nothing to indicate workers. Unfortunately accidents DO happen in life, hopefully you might be spared from being touched by one.

  • AM is Back to Being Immaculate Jul 13, 2007

    I don't know if I believe that this driver was a reasonable person because things don't happen without reason. There was a reason why he lost control of his vehicle and unless he was turning to miss an accident in front of him it's all his fault. Regardless of the fact that the deceased was a prisoner we still need to think of him as an innocent victim. I say this because i've passed may people in the medians on 40 cutting the grass or changing their tires and this could have been them. Even if this driver was destracted he killed someone and that's a huge deal.

  • ncyankee Jul 13, 2007

    "Im just saying" - please be advised that that was NOT Mr. Dufore holding his child it was another bi-stander! Nor was he laughing or has has been laughing since. Furthermore, I don't know any loving and reasonable person that would do something like this intentionally with their very young child in the car

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