Truck driver who hit officer gets suspended sentence, 30 days in jail

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 12:15 PM

The driver of a tractor-trailer who hit and seriously injured a Durham police officer on Interstate 85 was found guilty in the accident last week. He received a suspended sentence of six to 17 months, and was ordered to spend 30 days in jail and pay court costs.
Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith sentenced Charles Caldwell after a jury convicted him of careless and reckless driving and failing to move over, injuring Officer Teresa Gilliam.
Blood tests showed Caldwell wasn’t impaired, Assistant District Attorney Dale Morrill said. Caldwell initially was charged with DWI.
The accident occurred in July 2012 when Caldwell was driving on I-85 in Durham and his tractor-trailer hit Gilliam, whose car was on the interstate’s shoulder. Gilliam was in an unmarked police car behind a Mazda she had pulled over just past the exit ramp for Cole Mill Road. She rear-ended the Mazda when her car was hit.
The officer suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital. She was later released and is now on leave from the Durham Police Department, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Caldwell, 44, of Georgia, was released from the hospital soon after the accident.
His attorney, Bill Thomas, said his client was not impaired while driving, and a toxicology report he had performed by Duke University showed there were no drugs in Caldwell’s system.