Truck driver involved in fatal Wake Forest crash has poor driving history
Posted March 23
Updated March 24
Wake County, N.C. — 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.