RALEIGH — A Laurinburg truck driver could be charged in the traffic death of a high school teacher following a four-car crash on Monday.
Investigators said Donald Wayne Caulder, 29, was traveling north on Capital Boulevard when his Freightliner dump truck rear-ended a 2004 Sienna minivan driven by Michelle Simone Barlow, 42, of Wake Forest.
The wreck happened around 4:15 p.m., just north of Raleigh.
The force of the collision caused Barlow’s van to be pushed into the back of a tractor trailer driven by Marvin Erb, 49, of Danville, Virginia. The tractor trailer then hit the back of a 2015 Honda passenger vehicle driven by Timothy Ligowski, 49, of Wake Forest.
Investigators said the impact of the crash — Barlow’s minivan was wedged between the two trucks — resulted in Barlow’s death. Barlow was either stopped or slowing at the time of the collision, according to investigators.
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.
Barlow was an English 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.”
Investigators will consult with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office about possible charges against Caulder, who was towing a Bobcat bulldozer at the time of the accident.
According to his criminal record, Caulder has been convicted of driving without a license, but seven of the eight violations were dismissed. He also has two pending drug charges in Moore County.
WRAL has reported that Tim Riggins, Caulder’s cousin, said Caulder does not know what happened and described the crash as a “tragic accident.”
“This absolutely, 100 percent hurts down to the bottom of my soul,” Riggins said. “A great lady lost her life … she sounds like she was a good lady and a good person.”