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Officials: Fellow Inmates Wanted to Honor Wilson

Posted July 15, 2007
Updated July 16, 2007

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— A private memorial service was held Sunday evening for an inmate who was killed along Interstate 40 on July 10.

Charles Wilson, 31, was one of six inmates picking up litter along I-40 when an SUV slammed into them, authorities said. Wilson died six hours later at the hospital.

His family attended the hour-long memorial service at Wake Correctional Center, where Wilson was an inmate. Memorial services at the correctional center are fairly unusual, officials said. They've had services in the past for inmates, but not often.

In this case, fellow inmates pushed to have some sort of tribute to him, officials said. WRAL’s cameras weren’t allowed on prison property, but from across the street you could see hundreds of inmates gathered on the basketball court for the service.

Ten members of Wilson’s family members also attended.

“It was great,” said Markeita Wilson, his sister. “It had music just like we were having the service at church.”

Corrections officials said they are now investigating what happened that morning. They are also looking into why there were no signs on the highway to warn drivers that inmates were working.

An equipment trailer with the signs on it was apparently in the shop. Against policy, the crew went to work anyway.

“The safety inspectors are going to look at every factor they can find involved, and we’ll see what kind of recommendations they come back with in their report,” said Keith Acree, Department of Correction spokesman. “Based on that, we may decide to make some changes based on their findings.”

It will likely be another two to three weeks before a final report is complete. While that investigation is going on, Wilson's family has hired an attorney who said his office is conducting its own investigation. Hardison Wood is trying to get as much information as he can before taking any civil action, he said.

“We just need to learn some more facts,” Wood said. “There are a couple of key questions that need to be answered, and once we answer those, we’ll move forward.”

Funeral services for Wilson are scheduled for Tuesday. The wake will be held Monday evening. Before that, his body will be taken to a correctional facility in Halifax County so his older brother can view it there.

The driver of the SUV, Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, 37, of Clinton, was charged 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.


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  • OALA Jul 16, 2007

    It doesn't matter if the signs would have helped or not. If it is state policy that the signs must be present when inmates are clearing the roads, then the people who made the decision to put them (inmates) there without them (signs) disregarded policy and the lives they are responsible for. If the DOC had waited til the trailer was ready this tragedy could have been avoided (for now)

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Jul 16, 2007

    Would signs have helped him from losing control of the car?

  • Rocknhorse Jul 16, 2007

    "Have they said what caused him to lose control?"

    I was wondering the same thing!

  • jeebk04 Jul 16, 2007

    Signs are necessary, just as speed limits, stop lights, etc. to provide as much structure and control as necessary on our highways. Just because some don't follow, we can't just take them all down.

  • Historians 12th Jul 16, 2007

    I meant the signs are NOT observed,sorry!

  • Historians 12th Jul 16, 2007

    mort, you are absolutely right, the signs are observed I see it every morning mon-fri. What they should do is place one or two officers at every work zone, they more than earn their salary. And a mandatory part of their punishment should be community service working in a highway work zone amongst the other workers!

  • wp Jul 16, 2007

    About the inmates working signs - I really don't think it matters if signs were posted or not. People need to start using commen sense when they see ANYONE on the side of the road and slow down and move to the other lane (if possible). I saw inmates working on 264 this morning and yes, signs were out. I saw a few cars car, van, and two transfer trucks pass by them. None of the vehicles moved over and one inmate was right at the road picking up a piece of trash. I imagine most of the vehicles were going over the 70 speed limit too. A lot of people just don't have the common sense to move over or slow down...sad they actually had to make it a law for you to move to the other lane (if possible) when passing emergency/highway patrol cars etc...where's everyone's common sense gone these days?

  • OALA Jul 16, 2007

    I have a brother doing time right now. Is he a bad person, no. But he made some bad choices- not mistakes, but choices. This guy was doing his time and didnt deserve being mowed over by an out of control vehicle. At the very least, the state is negligent for not following procedures with regards to the sign. But the driver is the person at fault here. Have they said what caused him to lose control?

  • lilwil Jul 16, 2007

    I used to work at a prison and it's nothing strange for the other inmates to pay their respect. The Program Supervisor of that facility died. The inmates showed their gratitude by having a card designed and each of them writing their names on it.

    How do you know that this inmate probably was someone they could talk to. No matter where you are, in prison or not, everybody need someone to talk to. There was an inmate in the facility that kept other inmates out of trouble and that help the C/O's in every way.

  • Rocknhorse Jul 16, 2007

    On one hand, I believe convicted criminals should serve their due time (due time in my opinion is typically more than what actually occurs). I feel that criminals should be treated like criminals and prison should not be easy. It should be a place that people will avoid and not a place people want to go back into. On the other hand, I feel that crimes are committed for various reasons and I believe, with the proper help, some criminals can be rehabilitated and CAN be productive members of society.

    I feel for the family and friends of the inmate that was killed. He was actually out there WORKING!!! I've worked with some inmates and I can tell you, it's their choice (for those I worked with) to do work release. I will never fault a person for working a legal job, no matter what that job is. I find it sad when one is TRYING and they are met with tragedy.