A veteran police officer was killed earlier this month when a North Carolina Department of Transportation excavator truck struck him. The officer, who was off-duty, was driving on North Carolina 111 near Tarboro when the truck allegedly crossed the center lane and into the officer's lane.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the 29-year-old truck driver, who had just left the NCDOT maintenance yard in Edgecombe County, was driving westbound when he went into the 46-year-old officer's lane. The officer was driving a Honda van. The truck accident is still under investigation, and no charges have yet been filed against the truck driver, who was not injured.
The officer, who had been on the force for 24 years, leaves behind a wife and two young sons. A fund has been set up at a local Tarboro bank so that people can donate money to assist the family. There has also been an outpouring of grief and remembrances by fellow officers for the man whom they say "loved being a police officer."
A televised news report on WTVD noted that according to colleagues, the officer faithfully called his wife every day during his lunch hour and took extra shifts so that he could take his family to Disney World every year. That report also noted that the officer is believed to have died immediately at the scene of the crash.
The NCDOT says it will "work closely with law enforcement" to determine how the crash occurred and "thoroughly review all of our safety procedures…to prevent something like this from happening again."
When a truck driver is determined to be at fault in a crash, the company or other entity that employs the driver can also be held responsible civilly and perhaps even criminally, depending on the cause of the crash. By being able to hold the owners of the truck liable, victims' families may be able to recover considerably more money to help with financial burdens such as medical care, lost wages and burial costs that they face, particularly if their loved one was the breadwinner of the family.
Source: ABC 11, "Police officer killed in crash with DOT excavator" No author given, Apr. 15, 2014