Truck driver charged following fatal Wake Forest chain-reaction crash
Posted March 30
Updated March 31
Wake County, N.C. — A truck driver was charged Wednesday in connection with a deadly chain-reaction crash on Capital Boulevard that killed a high school teacher earlier this month.
According to authorities, Donald Wayne Caulder, 29, of Laurinburg, was taken into custody in Scotland County and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed. He was later released under a written promise to appear in Wake County court on June 28.
Caulder was traveling north on Capital Boulevard in a 2004 Freightliner dump truck towing a Bobcat at about 4:15 p.m. on March 22 when he rear-ended a 2004 Toyota Sienna driven by Michelle Simone Barlow, 42, of Wake Forest.
Barlow, an English teacher at Wake Forest High School, died in the crash. Investigators believed that Barlow was either stopped or slowing at the time of the accident.
Caulder’s truck pushed Barlow's minivan into the back of a 2011 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Marvin Douglas Erb, 49, of Danville, Va. Erb's tractor-trailer then rear-ended a Honda passenger vehicle.
Both Caulder and Erb were transported to WakeMed with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Honda was not injured.
According to his criminal record, Caulder had a history of eight driving-related violations since 2008. He also has two pending drug charges in Moore County.
Three hours before the fatal crash, a man following a log-laden dump truck towing a Bobcat called 911 to report the truck was swerving from lane to lane on eastbound I-40 near N.C. Highway 54 in Cary.
The 911 caller, who asked not to be identified, told WRAL News in an exclusive interview that he followed the truck for about 20 miles, from Davis Drive in Research Triangle Park to the I-40 split with Interstate 440 near Garner, but was unable to get law enforcement to pull the truck over.
Timothy Robbins, the man who owns the truck Caulder was driving, said he expected charges, but said the crash report shows what he believed all along - that it was just a tragic accident.
"I would give everything I have and I would work the rest of my life if I could bring that lady back," Robbins said.
Robbins said the truck passed a routine roadside inspection the week before the crash.
In paperwork obtained by WRAL from the Motor Carrier Enforcement Section of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Robbins and his company have previous citations. Most recently, Caulder was driving the same truck when he was involved in a minor crash in Fuquay-Varina in January 2016. The company had three violations and was issued a $300 fine.
A service was held for Barlow was held in Virginia on Wednesday. Barlow's husband, Michael Barlow said that about 1200 people attended the service and said that the family is praying for Caulder.