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Truck driver involved in fatal Wake Forest crash has poor driving history

Posted March 23
Updated March 24

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— A man authorities say started a deadly chain-reaction crash Tuesday afternoon has a history of eight driving-related violations since 2008.

Investigators said Donald Wayne Caulder, 29, of Laurinburg, was traveling north on Capital Boulevard in a 2004 Freightliner dump truck towing a Bobcat at about 4:15 p.m. when he rear-ended a 2004 Toyota Sienna.

The Toyota was being driven by Michelle Simone Barlow, 42, of Wake Forest, officials said. 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.

According to his criminal record, Caulder has been convicted of driving without a license, but seven of the eight violations were dismissed. He also has two pending drug charges in Moore County.

At Wake Forest High School on Wednesday, teachers read a statement to students, and grief counselors were made available to students and staff.

"(Michelle Barlow) was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by her students and the staff here at Wake Forest," the statement said. "Our thoughts go out to her friends and family."

Noah Beard, a student at the school, said while Barlow had not been at the school for very long, she made a positive impact.

"She was always down to earth and cared about her students," he said. "That was one of the things I really liked about her."

Barlow's husband, Michael, is a student at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He said Barlow was also a mother to two children.

"All of our prayers at this time are going out for the family," said Doug McClinsey, a classmate of Michael Barlow. "The Lord Jesus will comfort them at this time."

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Tim Robbins, the owner of the truck Caluder was driving, said Caulder is his cousin. He said Caulder does not know what happened and described the crash as a "tragic accident."

"This absolutely, 100 percent hurts down to the bottom of my soul," Robbins said. "A great lady lost her life ... she sounds like she was a good lady and a good person."

Robbins was shocked to hear of his cousin's record. He said Caulder has a commercial driver's license and passed an insurance background check.

Both Caulder and Erb were transported to WakeMed with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Honda was not injured.

6 Comments

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  • Mark Cooper Mar 24, 2016
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    Not defending them but they probably had no idea (the company or the insurance company). WRAL looks up arrests and citations (not convictions) but the background checks can only show what a person is found guilty of. If the driver did not volunteer the info I am not sure how the company could know.

    I am all for a little personal responsibility here. Sue the heck out of him and take 50% of his earnings for the rest of his life as a lesson/penalty/reminder to him more than equatable compensation to the family of the victim.

    Sympathy to the family...

  • Russ Bullock Mar 24, 2016
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    I'd say the DMV had a "poor" history of taking this bad driver off the road. Seven violations were dismissed? Gotta wonder about that.

  • Jim Hinnant Mar 24, 2016
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    From the photo of the event - it looks like he never even slowed before killing the victim. The results of his toxicology and/or cell phone records should be interesting.

  • Jim Hinnant Mar 24, 2016
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    "Poor?"

  • Nathaniel Hopkins Mar 24, 2016
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    he will get 3 to 5 years for manslaughter. in other words, the teacher's life is only worth that much. sickening.

  • Marcia Maloney Mar 24, 2016
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    This is the type of people we have driving on our roads. I'm wondering how the company of this dump truck let this driver behind the wheel of one of their trucks?