The driver responsible for causing a multi-fatal accident on Interstate 40 Thursday has been charged with DWI and several drug charges.
Highway Patrol says the driver of the tractor trailer, Ronald Graybeal, was driving while intoxicated, leading to the five-vehicle accident that killed three people. The accident was reporte around 4 p.m. Sgt. Jeff Gordon says there could be more fatalities, but couldn't provide further details.
The Associated Press identified the dead as 64-year-old Barbara Caldwell, of Mebane; 45-year-old Gary Smith, of Burlington; and 38-year-old John Llanio, of Kannapolis.
“This is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long, long time, especially with the number of vehicles involved. Any time you have a major interstate such as this, you have higher speeds and when we do have those collisions, they’re pretty dramatic in nature,” Gordon said Thursday night.
The accident caused I-40 near 15-501 in Durham County to be closed for at least six hours. The crash remains under investigation to determine the sequence of events.
Graybeal, a driver for Hawley Transport Services in Greeneville, Tenn., has been charged with three counts of felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, possession of methadone, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He's been placed in the Durham County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond.
According to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Graybeal was placed on five years probation in 2000 for aggravated burglary. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation website, Graybeal was convicted of rape in 1981 and is on the sex offender registry.
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