The accident happened just before 4:30 p.m. on Capital Boulevard near Burlington Mills Road in Wake County.
Authorities said a Freightliner dump truck that was towing a Bobcat bulldozer rear-ended a 2004 Toyota Sienna, causing the minivan to rear-end the 2011 Freightliner Tractor Trailer in front of it. That truck then rear-ended a 2015 Honda passenger vehicle, which sustained minor rear damage.
However, the minivan was wedged between the two trucks, killing the driver - 42-year-old Michelle Simone Barlow of Wake Forest. Investigators said they believe that Barlow was either stopped or slowing at the time of the collision.
Barlow was a teacher at Wake Forest High School. The following statement from her fellow teachers was read to students Wednesday:
"It is with great sadness that I share this information with you: Ms. Barlow has died. She taught English here at Wake Forest High School. She died from a tragic car accident yesterday. She was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by her students and the staff here at Wake Forest. Our thoughts go out to her friends and her family."
"We heard the noise, it sounded like an explosion," Wake Forest resident George Ferrell. "I mean, it sounded like dynamite. Two of them, bam, bam, and we walked down here, that's what we found."
Charges are pending against the dump-truck driver - 29-year-old Donald Wayne Caulder of Laurinburg - who rear-ended the minivan.
Caulder and the driver of the tractor trailer - 49-year-old Marvin Douglas Erb of Danville, Va. - were taken to Wake Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the Honda, 49-year-old Timothy Peter Ligowski of Wake Forest, was not injured.
The north lanes of Capital Boulevard were closed for hours near Burlington Mill Road.
The lanes reopened about 9 p.m.
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