Local News

Charge upgraded in triple fatal I-40 crash

Posted July 5, 2011 12:49 p.m. EDT

— A charge was upgraded Tuesday against a tractor-trailer driver involved in a wreck on Interstate 40 last week that killed three people.

Ronald Eugene Graybeal, 50, of Newport, Tenn., now faces two charges of felony death by vehicle and one count of misdemeanor death by vehicle. He previously was charged with one felony and two misdemeanors.

Troopers say Graybeal was driving west on I-40 near U.S. Highway 15/501 on Thursday afternoon when he crashed into four vehicles, killing three of the drivers.

The semi hit a Ford F-250 truck driven by John Hall Llanio, 38, of Kannapolis, a Chevrolet Equinox driven by Barbara Boda Caldwell, 64, of Mebane, and a vehicle driven by Gary Dwayne Smith, 45, of Burlington, authorities said. All three died.

It also hit a box truck driven by Reginald Keith Thompson, 49, of Greensboro, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

Graybeal also was charged with driving while impaired and possession of marijuana, methadone and drug paraphernalia. He was being held in the Durham County jail under a $600,000 bond.