Driver reached speeds up to 140 mph before fatal collision

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comNovember 26, 2012 

— State troopers said a 45-year-old man made a U-turn on N.C. 98 in Durham on Nov. 17 to avoid a Highway Patrol checkpoint, then sped away at speeds up to 140 mph in a black Chrysler Crossfire.

Troopers pursued for a little over two minutes on N.C. 98 before the car crashed head-on into a box truck and burst into flames.

Driver Brian Caldwell, of 605 Clayton Road in Durham, was ejected from the Crossfire and died at the scene. State troopers pulled the two occupants of the box truck to safety.

Investigators later found that Orange County officials had issued an outstanding warrant for Caldwell’s arrest, charging him with driving while his license was revoked. He had a history of arrests for the same charge, dating back to 1991, state records show.

On Aug. 5, 1991, Caldwell was charged with the offense in Durham County. Two months later, on Oct. 15, police in Orange County charged him with the same offense. The charges were dismissed, state records show.

Durham police charged him again in 1993, but that case was dismissed in 2003.

He was charged again with the offense in Durham in 1994. He was sentenced to one year probation and 25 hours of community service after he was found guilty, state records show.

In 1996, Caldwell was charged again in Durham County with driving while license revoked and careless and reckless driving. He was found guilty and sentenced to one year probation and one month of community service, state records show.

Durham police charged Caldwell again with driving on a revoked license in 2006, 2008. and 2010. The charges were dismissed in each instance, state records show.

First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a Highway Patrol spokesman, reported that traffic was light when state troopers began to pursue the Chrysler on Nov. 17 around 2:30 a.m.

After fleeing a checkpoint, the patrol says Caldwell ignored the patrol cars’ blue lights and sirens.

“Sadly,” Gordon reported on Monday, “these choices resulted in his death.”

News researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service