Dustin Caulder, Lloyd Johnson Killed in Rockingham, NC Truck Accident on US-1
Rockingham, NC — August 29, 2022, 29-year-old Dustin Caulder and 76-year-old Lloyd Johnson died in a crash with a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 1 in Rockingham.
Reports say the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on US-1 near the US-74 overpass. Preliminary investigation suggests an 18-wheeler pulled out of a truck stop lot onto US-1 but failed to yield to the victims' northbound Toyota 4Runner. The SUV and the truck collided in the roadway.
Caulder and Johnson both died in the crash. No other injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing and charges are reportedly pending.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Dustin Caulder, Lloyd Johnson Accident in Rockingham
If reports have their facts straight here it sounds like a truck driver acted negligently and turned in front of oncoming traffic. Some may think little else beyond what the news said is necessary to hold that driver (and by extension his employer) responsible, but commercial truck wrecks are rarely that simple.
Countless people have been injured by truck driver negligence in some form or another, and almost all of them have found an uncooperative trucking company on the other side. The company will try to deflect fault wherever it might stick--visibility problems, mysterious brake failures, or even unsafe behavior by the victims themselves, just to name a few. To make sure they can't redirect fault that way, it's important to conduct a careful and thorough crash investigation and let only the facts tell the real story.
That's even more crucial in North Carolina, which uses an outdated and unfair system of fault called pure contributory negligence. In a nutshell the state's laws say that an injured victim found at all responsible for their injuries has no claim. Even if a jury finds they're just 1% at fault, the case is thrown out. This system is weighted heavily against victims, so victims and families generally need an airtight case with abundant clear evidence showing the truck driver was entirely to blame for the damage done.
Unfortunately police don't always have the time or resources to conduct the thorough investigation needed for such a case. They'll work out a timeline of events but likely will not go the extra mile to find every subtle detail, even if those could make a huge difference in securing much-needed help for the people affected. That's why I often recommend that victims and families work with independent investigators to find the proof they need. At the very least a comprehensive investigation may bring some answers and closure that a "by the book" police investigation can't.