Local News

Inmate Dies After Work Crew Struck on I-40

Posted July 10, 2007 11:41 a.m. EDT
Updated July 11, 2007 3:02 p.m. EDT

Editor's Note: We want to clarify part of our coverage from Tuesday. We showed video of a man holding a child at the accident scene. That man was NOT the child's father or the driver of the SUV. He was actually someone who stopped to help.

One of three inmates who were struck by a vehicle while working in the median of Interstate 40 died Tuesday afternoon.

The driver of a westbound sport utility vehicle lost control of it near the Lake Wheeler Road interchange of I-40 at about 8:15 a.m., and the SUV skidded into the median, hitting three inmates and an empty prison van, authorities said.

The inmates were part of a trash-pickup work crew from Wake Correctional Center, a minimum-security facility on Rock Quarry Road, authorities said.

The SUV rolled on top of one inmate, prompting the other two to come to his aid, Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree said.

"The one inmate that the SUV landed on top of, the other inmates actually lifted the SUV and pulled him out from underneath before the paramedics arrived," Acree said.

But their efforts were in vain. Inmate Charles G. Wilson, 31, died about six hours after the wreck at WakeMed, authorities said.

Inmate John Junior Perry, 38, and Corrections Officer John McDonald also were injured in the wreck. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening, authorities said.

A third inmate, Chasi Shabayen, 42, was unhurt, authorities said.

The SUV driver, Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, 37, of Clinton, and his 3-year-old son weren't seriously injured, authorities said.

Authorities aren't sure why Beaujeu-Dufour lost control of the SUV.

According to the Department of Correction, another work crew inmate was recently struck by a passing vehicle.

Andre Voznyuk, 19, was struck June 13 by a pickup truck on Interstate 26 in Henderson County, officials said. He was taken to an Asheville hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Corrections officials also said an SUV struck and killed an inmate May 18, 2006, in Iredell County on I-40.

The department's safety office will investigate Tuesday's incident on I-40 and could decide whether any procedures need to change, Acree said.

"It doesn't happen every day, but it happens more often then we'd like it to," he said of the wrecks. "We have inmates working on the road year-round, and we know that the public wants us out there. We hear it from the public and from legislators -- they want us out there cleaning up trash on the highways -- but that doesn't come without lots of risks."