Off-duty police officer dies in collision with DOT truck

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

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An off-duty Tarboro police officer died in a traffic accident Tuesday morning involving the vehicle he was driving and an N.C. Department of Transportation truck.

Officer Charles Johnson, 46, was killed when the vehicle he was driving collided with an excavator truck, according to local sources. Officials said the truck left a maintenance yard on McKendree Church Road just outside Tarboro, then collided with the off-duty officer’s vehicle on N.C. 111.

"Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with Charles' wife Tracy, his young sons Travis and Dustin, and his mother Charlotte Armstrong," Tarboro Police Sgt. Al Braxton said.

The N.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the incident. No charges have been filed, and the unidentified excavator truck driver was not injured.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver who died in this tragic accident and with our employee who was involved," N.C. DOT Secretary Tony Tata said in a prepared statement. "Safety is always the No. 1 priority in everything we do. Our team will work closely with law enforcement to investigate and thoroughly review all of our safety procedures to understand how this happened and what steps we can take to prevent something like this from happening again.”

A benevolence fund has been created at Providence Bank in Tarboro, with donations going to the late officer's family. Johnson had been with the Tarboro Police Department for 24 years, officials said.