Trucker gets 11 years in prison for fatal I-40 wreck
Posted October 29, 2013
Hillsborough, N.C. — A truck driver has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison in connection with a fatal pile-up on Interstate 40 near Chapel Hill two years ago, authorities said.
Ronald Eugene Graybeal, 52, of Newport, Tenn., pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He initially was charged with three counts of felony death by motor vehicle.
State Highway Patrol troopers say Graybeal was westbound on I-40 near U.S. Highway 15/501 on June 30, 2011, when he crashed into a line of stopped traffic, killing three people.
An investigation determined that the four vehicles were stopped in heavy afternoon traffic and had just started to move when Graybeal's tractor-trailer hit them at 65 mph. The chain-reaction wreck that ensued caused one vehicle to burst into flames.
Gary Dwayne Smith, 45, of Burlington, died in the burning vehicle, and John Hall Llanio, 38, of Kannapolis, and Barbara Boda Caldwell, 64, of Mebane, also were killed.
Investigators said Graybeal was under the influence of drugs at the time of the wreck.