Tarboro Remembers Officer Charles Johnson

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After 24 years of service, a local lawman was laid to rest by his family, community, and brothers in blue.

Troopers said Officer Charles Johnson was off duty on Tuesday as he drove west along Highway 111 in his van. Investigators said the arm of a Department of Transportation excavator crossed the center line, hitting Johnson's van on the driver's side.

Investigators said Officer Johnson was pinned under the wreckage and died at the scene.

Sergeant Al Braxton of the Tarboro Police Department recalled getting the news.

"It was sobering. It hurt," Braxton said. "A lot of different feelings. Emotions were running because at first we weren't sure of everything that was going on."

On Friday, Johnson's funeral was held in Edgecombe County. Johnson was survived by his wife and two sons.

Braxton said, "When he wasn't working he was with them spending time, taking trips, whatever he could do to make them happy."

William Harrell II, a state D.O.T. worker, has now been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving left of center.


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After 24 years of service, a local lawman will be laid to rest by his family, community, and brothers in blue.

Troopers said Officer Charles Johnson was off duty on Tuesday as he drove west along Highway 111 in his van. Investigators said the arm of a Department of Transportation excavator crossed the center line, hitting Johnson's van on the driver's side.

Investigators said Officer Johnson was pinned under the wreckage and died at the scene.

William Harrell II, a state D.O.T. worker, has now been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving left of center.

From 1:30 - 3 p.m. on Friday, there will be a visitation for Officer Johnson held at Edgecombe Community College's Keihin Auditorium.

Officer Johnson's funeral beings at 3 p.m. Friday at the auditorium. Burial will follow at Edgecombe Memorial Park.

The Tarboro Police Department said Johnson is survived by his wife and two young sons. A fund for the officer's funeral has been set up at Providence Bank in Tarboro.


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A state D.O.T. worker has been charged after Tuesday morning's crash that killed an off-duty Tarboro police officer.

The Highway Patrol says William Harrell II was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving left of center.

Officer Charles Johnson was a 24-year veteran of the Tarboro Police Department.

Troopers say the officer was heading west on Highway 111 in his van when the arm of the D.O.T. excavator crossed the center line, hitting the officer's vehicle on the driver's side.

Johnson's funeral is Friday afternoon in Tarboro.

Harrell was given a $2,500 unsecured bond and has a July 31st court date. The Edgecombe County jail says it has no mugshot of the suspect.

The D.O.T. says Harrell, who has worked for them since 2005, is on investigatory leave with pay until their investigation is complete.


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An off duty police officer, who was killed Tuesday morning in a collision with a D.O.T. excavator, will be laid to rest Friday.

Officer Charles Johnson was a 24-year veteran of the Tarboro Police Department.

Troopers say Johnson was heading west on Highway 111, just outside of Tarboro, when the arm of the excavator crossed the center line, hitting the officer's vehicle on the driver's side.

The Highway Patrol says charges are pending against the D.O.T. employee.

Visitation for Officer Johnson will be from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Friday at Edgecombe Community College's Keihin Auditorium, where the funeral will take place at 3:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Edgecombe Memorial Park.

The police department says Johnson is survived by his wife and two young sons. A fund for the officer's funeral has been set up at Providence Bank in Tarboro.


Officer Charles Johnson Fund
c/o Providence Bank
P.O.Box 339
Tarboro, NC 27886


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The Highway Patrol says charges are pending against a state D.O.T. worker involved in an accident that killed an off duty Tarboro police officer this morning.

The officer has been identified as Charles Johnson.

Chief Damon Williams says Johnson worked for Tarboro police for the last 24 years.

The 8:49 a.m. crash involved a state DOT excavator truck and Johnson's personal vehicle on Highway 111 near the DOT maintenance yard.

DOT employee William Harrell II was shaken, but not hurt.

Trooper Charles Purvis says Johnson was heading west on 111, while the D.O.T. truck was eastbound. He says the arm of the excavator crossed the center line, hitting the officer's vehicle on the driver's side.

Johnson was pinned in the wreckage and died at the scene.

Troopers were still at the scene some six hours after the accident happened conducting a recreation of the crash. Trooper Purvis says charges are pending against Harrell.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver who died in this tragic accident and with our employee who was involved," said state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. "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."

The D.O.T. says it will thoroughly inspect the truck involved, while the employee will undergo required medical screening. Harrell has worked at the Edgecombe County Maintenance Yard since October 2005.

The police department says Johnson is survived by his wife and two young sons. A fund for the officer's funeral has been set up at Providence Bank in Tarboro.


Officer Charles Johnson Fund
c/o Providence Bank
P.O.Box 339
Tarboro, NC 27886


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