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Driver in Crash That Killed Prison Inmate Appears in Court

Posted August 16, 2007

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— A Sampson County man made his first court appearance Thursday morning on charges stemming from a July 10 accident that killed an inmate working along Interstate 40.

Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, 37, of Clinton, faces a charge of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the death of Charles Wilson, 31.

Wilson was part of a Wake Correctional Center work crew that was picking up trash in the I-40 median near Lake Wheeler Road when Beaujeu-Dufour lost control of his sport utility vehicle and skidded into the median.

Wilson died, and another inmate and correctional officer were injured.

Wilson's family members were also in court, wearing shirts with pictures of the victim, who was known as "Peanut" to his loved ones.

"We refuse to allow Charles to be dead. We refuse to let him die," Wilson's sister, Markeita Wison, said. "So, we're going to do everything possible to keep (his memory) alive."

Beaujeu-Dufour's attorney, Rick Gammon, said his client simply made a mistake behind the wheel and swerved when he saw brake lights in front of him.

Gammon said his client feels a great deal of remorse and "wishes he could turn the clock back."

"It's going to weigh heavily on him," Gammon said. "He'll never forget it. He probably will never get behind the wheel of a car again without thinking about what happened."

The trial date is Oct. 3. If convicted, Beaujeu-Dufour he will most likely get probation and a fine as well as lose his license for a year, Gammon said.

Hardison Wood, the attorney for Wilson's family, said they are still considering civil litigation against Beaujeu-Dufour and that the state Department of Correction, which was responsible for the work crew, could be sued as well.

"We're still investigating," Wood said. "It's critical we get all the facts and take this one step at a time."

Supervisors of the work crew violated state policy by not putting up signs warning drivers that work was happening in the area, DOC spokesman Keith Acree said last month.

"The signs are required. We know they should have been there," he said. "We're trying to find answers as to what happened that morning that they didn't take them with them," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ANGEL+3 Aug 17, 2007

    Bottom line here is they want to sue. They start with the driver but the big fish is the state. they see dollar signs. it is a accident. GET OVER IT!!!!! Why does everyone feel like they are owed something because someone dies????
    All people ever care about is money, it holds true "the love of money is the root of all evil". I feel for all sides. I know people who have accidently killed someone in a car wreck. Trust me this man will never forget it. The next time he sees a car wreck he'll remember. I had a terrible wreck at age 17 & almost died from a drunk driver hitting me. Every wreck I see reminds me & it will remind him. Yes he needs to receive punishment but sueing him or the DOC will not bring him back or change the next accident that happens. Accident will continue to happen. We are human....

  • Like that Aug 17, 2007

    Let's sit back and watch this murderers money and political connections make this incident disappear. Yeah it shouldn't be a factor BUT IT IS!!!

  • nisa-pizza Aug 17, 2007

    plandelle, I was with AA too in '92, were you at RDU or reservations?

  • plandelle Aug 17, 2007

    While I was with American Airlines in 92, I always participated to the I40 1 mile cleaning program. I do not remember that we posted any signs, we just had the yellow jackets at the time.

  • sgt_nc Aug 17, 2007

    In 1995, I was driving to work on I40. A car from another lane hydroplained in front of me and crashed. I had less than 1 second to decide to swerve or hit. I hit. We both walked away with bruises and totalled cars. Do not be so quick to judge, please! I don't know what would have happened if I had swerved. Maybe good things, but maybe bad. We do our best with our knowledge and experience. But we don't know what could have been.

  • seankelly15 Aug 17, 2007

    "This appears to be a responsible citizen that experienced a brief lapse in attentivness resulting in a tragic accident resulting in death of a bystander."

    No, this was someone who was not paying attention, did not have control of his motor vehicle, left the roadway, flipped the car at least once and landed on a human being resulting in a death. This was not an accident it was a death that resulted from negligence. Forget about the lawsuit, he will be lucky if he isn't sent to jail.

  • bronzegoddess40 Aug 16, 2007

    If the signs had been up and the driver was distracted and still went off the road, the same accident still could have happened. It is very unfortunate that this happened and someone was killed and others injured. And why does everyone feel that because the family of the man killed is going to throw a big party? Has anyone ever thought that maybe they would use the money to help young people not follow the wrong path and end up in prison?

  • sgt_nc Aug 16, 2007

    I feel badly for everyone involved. Have you ever tried to maintain a safe distance on that stretch of I40 during rush hour? You can't. People will pull in front of you and fill that gap.

  • ladyblue Aug 16, 2007

    What will the Wilson family do if they find it was Wilson who forgot to bring the road signs. A tragedy for the family. The longer they try to drag out lawsuits the harder it will be to start healing and getting on with their lives. Did this man have any kids out there.

  • anonemoose Aug 16, 2007

    I guess the PC Police didn't like my last comment.

    This wasn't an accident, it was a collision. An accident is something that happens as a result of unforseen actions. Speeding, innatention and following too closely are actions that make a collision very foreseeable. As far as the signage, I don't see that it matters anyway. If he had been a pedestrian in the median instead of a convict, there wouldn't have been any signs. I know that the insurance company will settle so that Peanut's family can have a big party, but normally to get to a figure you have to take what that person likely would have produced as far as income in the future. So just how much do convicts make a day?