Local News

Tarboro officer killed in crash with NCDOT truck

Posted April 15, 2014
Updated April 16, 2014

— An off-duty Tarboro police officer died Tuesday morning when his vehicle collided with a state Department of Transportation excavator, authorities said.

Officer Charles Bryce Johnson, 46, was westbound on N.C. Highway 111 at about 8:50 a.m. when an eastbound DOT truck crossed the center line and collided head-on with Johnson's Honda Odyssey near Sara Lee Road, according to Trooper Charles Pervis of the State Highway Patrol.

Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the Tarboro Police Department, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It's very difficult to get this kind of news. A lot of the men and women here have worked with Charles for over 24 years, so it's hard to lose someone that you've known that long to such a tragic event," Police Chief Damon Williams said.

Other Tarboro officers are so grief-stricken over the death of the man they affectionately called "Robocop" because of his lanky frame and orderly manner that Edgecombe County deputies will handle all patrols in the town for at least the next day, Williams said.

William Allen Harrell II, 29, of Macclesfield, the driver of the DOT truck was shaken but wasn't injured, DOT officials said. He had driven out of a nearby DOT maintenance yard shortly before the wreck.

Charges are pending against Harrell, Pervis said, although the crash remains under investigation.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver who died in this tragic accident and with our employee who was involved," Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement. "Safety is always the No. 1 priority in everything we do. Our team will work closely with law enforcement to investigate and thoroughly review all of our safety procedures to understand how this happened and what steps we can take to prevent something like this from happening again."

Johnson is survived by a wife and two sons.

Visitation will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at Edgecombe Community College's Keihin Auditorium. The funeral service will begin at 3 p.m., with burial immediately following at Edgecombe Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, a trust fund for Johnson's family has been setup at Providence Bank, 325 N. Main St. (PO Box 339) Tarboro, NC.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • btneast Apr 16, 2014

    Deaths like this are unacceptable and preventable. Unacceptable, yes....preventable, doubtful.

  • LocalYokel Apr 16, 2014

    Deaths like this are unacceptable and preventable.

    Are you dissatisfied with safety of your public roads? Have you seen enough death and injuries on public roads?

    If so, make sure let the responsible organizations know what you think about the job they are doing with public safety.

  • evadbbat Apr 15, 2014


  • dwr1964 Apr 15, 2014

    Always take the time to tell your family and friends that you love them. Never turn your back while mad. Don't say something that you would regret, if it turned out to be the last time you spoke with that person. You never know when God is going to call you home.

  • Jump1 Apr 15, 2014

    A loss to the community.

  • stymieindurham Apr 15, 2014

    Rest well brother.

  • LetsBeFair Apr 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Well, if you/me were in the accident, as with all other accidents, they mention whether or not alcohol or speeding were involved.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Apr 15, 2014

    Awww, I am so sorry.

    Prayers for his loved ones and fellow officers.

    RIP Officer Johnson, thanks for your service to the community.

  • MrPearce Apr 15, 2014

    More complete story on WITN, if the censors let this through. Was not the officer's fault.

  • Malakai Bluebone Apr 15, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This made news with an incomplete story. Why would anyone fault someone for wanting to know how/why it happened?