Local News

Trucker out of hospital after wreck with Durham patrol car

Posted July 30, 2012
Updated July 31, 2012

— A truck driver who was released from the hospital Monday was charged in a crash last week that critically injured a Durham police officer.

Charles Edward Caldwell, 44, of Roberta, Ga., is charged with felony serious injury by vehicle. He was being held in the Durham County jail under a $500,000 bond.

Officer Teresa Gilliam had stopped a 2010 Mazda 3 Wednesday afternoon on the right shoulder of Interstate 85 just past the exit ramp for Cole Mill Road, police said. A tractor-trailer hit Gilliam's unmarked car from behind, forcing it into the Mazda.

Gilliam, a 15-year veteran of the Durham police force, remains in critical condition at Duke University Hospital.

Caldwell wasn't injured in the crash, but he complained of a health condition during police questioning and was admitted to Duke Hospital.

A citation notes that Caldwell's truck was traveling 70 mph, which is 10 mph faster than the speed limit on that stretch of I-85, and was swerving between lanes. It also notes that Gilliam had activated the blue lights on her car but that Caldwell failed to move out of the right lane, as required by state law when passing a stopped law enforcement vehicle.

Officers noted that Caldwell's eyes were droopy and his speech slurred, and police took a sample of his blood to test for alcohol or drugs.


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  • jjsmith1973 Aug 1, 2012

    For those hammer this guy about DWI. Read the previous article. He got sick while driving. His toxicology should nothing in his system.

  • kre2 Jul 31, 2012

    They say he may not have been drunk or on drugs and the he has a medical condition. He is still neligent if he was driving and knew of the condition.

  • sczarnecki Jul 31, 2012

    This guy has no brains, driving a 80000 pound rig while drunk,hope they throw the book at you,and causing injury.

  • greg69innc Jul 31, 2012

    Chances are the trucker tried to move over and a vehicle sped up not allowing the trucker into the middle lane and he swerved back to the right lane which caused him to begin swerving in order to straighten out the trailer and he hit the police car and all went down hill from here. I would not call him a bad driver more than likely he is just guilty of speeding which we all are guilty of that. My speech would be slurred and I'd be looking pretty disheveled too if I had all that going on and knew I hit a leo. So dont call him a bad driver as we all make bad decisions one time or another when your vehicle is five times the size of others then the one bad decision is magnified so much more.

    Prayers to the LEO and hope to see her out and about soon.

  • sinenomine Jul 31, 2012

    I have my own move-over law which pre-dates the state's version. When I'm on a divided highway and the situation permits I move over for anyone, police, fire, emergency, or whatever including all manner of civilians. Everybody's human and deserves equal consideration in my view.

  • carolinagal78 Jul 31, 2012

    The law states that if you are not able to "move over" then you should reduce your speed. We all know that people fly on the highways. The trucker should not have been going 10mph over the posted speed to start with and should have reduced his speed even more when he noticed the blue lights. There just isn't any excuse. As a wife of an leo officer, I'm glad there are laws to protect them. The problem is people don't have enough common sense or care.

    This trucker could have easily hit a family broke down on the side of the road. What if it's one of your family members? We all need to be held accountable if we cause an accident. Especially truckers with the weight that they carry. I hope this officer will have a speedy recovery and that she will be ok.

  • AtALost Jul 31, 2012

    Really scary when you think of all the drivers who don't know the law and/or can't read English signs.

    It's a move over "if safe to do so" AND slow down law. Hopefully this helps those who find it challenging to move over.

    In January, 2002, the state's Move Over law took effect requiring motorists, if they can safely do so, to move one lane away from any law enforcement or other emergency vehicle... This law includes utility vehicles that are on the side of the road restoring electrical service during an unplanned event such as a hurricane or ice storm.

    The law requires motorists slow down and approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the roadway with its lights flashing. Motorists are required to move over to another lane away from the emergency vehicle on a multi-lane highway or slow down on a two lane highway and can do so safely. Motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed. G.S. 20-157 (f).

  • beach2011 Jul 31, 2012

    Perfectly said ecupir8_Hatteras! From the mom of a person who stands on the side of the road to protect and serve!!!

  • ecupir8_Hatteras Jul 31, 2012

    The move over law was put into place to not only protect the emergency personnel on the side of the road but to protect the stupid people who have to rubberneck to see what is going on. If you rubberneck and swerve in the outside lane of where the incident is, chances are you're going to hit some aspect of that incident. If you rubberneck and swerve further away from the incident, chances are the lane is clear. (yes I know this is not always the case) but majority of the time it is. People will always find something to complain about. If officers wait to pull someone over at a "side street" and that person hits someone/something before getting to that side street...people will complain the officer did not do his/her job adequately. Coming from the viewpoint of having a loved one stand on the side of the road or even in the middle of the road for wrecks...MOVE OVER.

  • reincarnatedasme Jul 31, 2012

    Hopefully, the officer will recover and be able to go back to work. As for the truck driver, if he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol....prosecute him. Truckers who drive impaired should be jailed.....period. No light sentence, no slap on the wrist. They are a menace to all of us.