Truck driver emotional over Fort Bragg crash that left soldier dead

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The crash Thursday between a Humvee and an 18-wheeler left a soldier dead and two others injured.

The driver of a car-carrier truck that was involved in a crash with a Humvee that left a soldier dead and two others injured spoke exclusively to ABC11 on Friday.

Just 12 hours after getting home from that horrific accident, retired Sgt. Maj. Jim Wilhelm was at Hay Street United Methodist Church feeding the community. His life is centered around volunteering, and he's thankful he is still alive to be able to continue doing just that.

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But his heart breaks for the soldier who lost his life.

"It's the family members of the soldiers that need our prayers," Wilhelm said.

It was one of the worst crash scenes he had ever seen, Wilhelm said. He was headed back to Fayetteville from Greensboro on Thursday when he says a Humvee crossed the center line on Plank Road near Mott Lake and slammed into his 18-wheeler.


"So I swerved to the right to get off the road," Wilhelm recalled. "That alleviated a head-on collision but that didn't stop him from coming on in and hitting the side of the trailer."

According to Wilhelm, the Humvee was destroyed. Wilhelm thinks the crash could've been even worse had the heavy-duty military vehicle struck the two cars behind him.

"In this case, I was bigger. I had less impact as far as on me," Wilhelm said. "It was devastating to them but there's always a positive side to what would've happened had he hit a car or personal vehicles."

Unfortunately, Wilhelm is no stranger to terrible wrecks, and knows the pain of loss well.

"I've had two brothers killed in car wrecks," he said. "And I lost my daughter four years ago this week."

Though he's thankful his truck acted as a buffer to potentially spare other lives, he hasn't stopped praying for the family of the soldier who lost his life.
"We lost a young soldier," said a visibly emotional Wilhelm. "To lose one just driving a vehicle in peacetime, we call it. War is different. To lose a life, like this is really hard."

Fort Bragg has not yet released the names of the soldiers involved.

The crash remains under investigation.

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