Truck driver charged in crash that killed Wake Forest teacher

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Dump truck driver
Dump truck driver charged in teacher's death.

WAKE FOREST (WTVD) -- The boss of the man charged in the crash that killed a Wake Forest teacher said "this truly was an accident."

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said that the truck driver involved in a crash that killed Wake Forest High School English teacher Michelle Barlow last Tuesday is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

Donald Wayne Caulder Jr.
Credit: Scotland County Jail, 2013 arrest

Troopers said Donald Wayne Caulder Jr., 29, of Laurinburg, was taken into custody in Scotland County and released on a written promise to appear. He's also charged with failure to reduce speed.

"We are both heartbroken," said Tim Robbins, Caulder's boss. Caulder was driving his work dump truck at the time of the crash.

According to investigators, Caulder was headed north on Capital Boulevard around 4:15 p.m. on March 22 driving a Freightliner dump truck towing a Bobcat excavator when he rear-ended the 42-year-old Barlow's Toyota Sienna van, which was stopped in front of him near Burlington Mills Road.

The van was crushed between Caulder's truck and another truck in front of Barlow.

Barlow started working in the Wake County Public School System in January 2015. She was an English teacher at Panther Creek High School from January until June of last year. Then she began teaching at Wake Forest High School in August.

Even though Caulder is charged, his boss Robbins said he really doesn't know whether his employee was just tired. But he said Caulder was not on the phone or under the influence and that he passed all his certification tests.

He went on to say that neither he nor Caulder have been able to eat or sleep well since this happened.


Before the crash happened at 4:15 p.m. last Tuesday, records show a driver on the road called just hours before, about 1:40 p.m. to report a green dump truck driving recklessly on I-40.

Highway Patrol confirmed that the truck this caller was reporting was in fact the same truck Caulder was driving.

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