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Troopers search truck, driver's phone after fatal Wake Forest crash

Posted April 11
Updated April 13

Donald Caulder
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— Authorities said they believe driver fatigue or distraction contributed to a crash in Wake Forest last month that killed a high school teacher.

Donald Wayne Caulder, 29, of Laurinburg, is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed in the March 22 crash on Capital Boulevard.

According to authorities, Caulder was northbound in a dump truck filled with logs and towing a Bobcat when he rear-ended a minivan driven by Michelle Simone Barlow, 42, of Wake Forest. The dump truck pushed the van into the back of a tractor-trailer, crushing it and killing Barlow, an English teacher at Wake Forest High School.

Investigators with the State Highway Patrol said there was no evidence at the scene that Caulder tried to brake or swerve to avoid the crash, which "indicates distraction or fatigue," according to a search warrant they obtained to examine his cellphone. Troopers also obtained a warrant to inspect the dump truck's steering, brakes and other systems and to gather speed, braking and other data from the truck's airbag control module.

"Examination of the phone would allow investigators to eliminate or confirm if Caulder Jr. was distracted by the use of his cellphone or if some other circumstances distracted him," the application for the cellphone warrant states.


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