Local News

Officials: Fellow Inmates Wanted to Honor Wilson

Posted July 15, 2007 6:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2007 8:17 a.m. EDT

— A private memorial service was held Sunday evening for an inmate who was killed along Interstate 40 on July 10.

Charles Wilson, 31, was one of six inmates picking up litter along I-40 when an SUV slammed into them, authorities said. Wilson died six hours later at the hospital.

His family attended the hour-long memorial service at Wake Correctional Center, where Wilson was an inmate. Memorial services at the correctional center are fairly unusual, officials said. They've had services in the past for inmates, but not often.

In this case, fellow inmates pushed to have some sort of tribute to him, officials said. WRAL’s cameras weren’t allowed on prison property, but from across the street you could see hundreds of inmates gathered on the basketball court for the service.

Ten members of Wilson’s family members also attended.

“It was great,” said Markeita Wilson, his sister. “It had music just like we were having the service at church.”

Corrections officials said they are now investigating what happened that morning. They are also looking into why there were no signs on the highway to warn drivers that inmates were working.

An equipment trailer with the signs on it was apparently in the shop. Against policy, the crew went to work anyway.

“The safety inspectors are going to look at every factor they can find involved, and we’ll see what kind of recommendations they come back with in their report,” said Keith Acree, Department of Correction spokesman. “Based on that, we may decide to make some changes based on their findings.”

It will likely be another two to three weeks before a final report is complete. While that investigation is going on, Wilson's family has hired an attorney who said his office is conducting its own investigation. Hardison Wood is trying to get as much information as he can before taking any civil action, he said.

“We just need to learn some more facts,” Wood said. “There are a couple of key questions that need to be answered, and once we answer those, we’ll move forward.”

Funeral services for Wilson are scheduled for Tuesday. The wake will be held Monday evening. Before that, his body will be taken to a correctional facility in Halifax County so his older brother can view it there.

The driver of the SUV, Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, 37, of Clinton, was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with Wilson's death.

Beaujeu-Dufour is the son-in-law of former U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth. He is scheduled to appear in court on the charge on Aug. 16.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy. It was a terrible accident. He and his family grieve for Mr. Wilson's family and those injured," his attorney, Doug Parsons, said in a statement.