About $1 million cash was found in the back of a deceased truck driver’s semi trailer in Marshall, Texas.

In the 3 a.m dark of east Texas, Eric Royster rolled an 18-wheeler down the interstate, bound for California on a cross-country run, when suddenly his rig caught fire.

 He jumped from the cab and watched the trailer burn, blazing orange in the night, but a passing pickup struck and killed him in the road.

 This would mark the sad end of the story for Royster, 36, a veteran furniture mover from Angier, a graduate of Harnett Central High School. But there’s more. When police and fire crews opened up the side door at the rear of the truck, they found roughly $1 million in small bills inside, wrapped in plastic and then again in aluminum foil – some of it burned black. What remains, beyond a grieving family, is a long list of questions, chiefly how and why those stacks of cash ended up in the back of an Atlas moving truck, driven by a small-town man.

Freddie Royster, father of the deceased and a moving man himself, supported this story. “My son had no idea what’s in that container,” he said. “We move people. We don’t know what they’re hauling. If you decide you wanted to move your money, we haul it. If you decide you want to move your toilet, we haul it.”


After a week of counting, Harrison County authorities have finally tallied up the large sum of money found in an 18-wheeler last week after the diesel caught fire and a pickup fatally struck the driver.

“We can only estimate that there was approximately one million dollars within that vehicle,” Sheriff Tom McCool reported to the Harrison County Commissioners Court Monday. “We have been able to salvage approximately three quarters of a million dollars out of that.” He said they deposited $250,000 of the money Monday morning at a local bank.

 “We’re going to count, for the third time, some of the damage to funds,” McCool said. “If, in fact, those monies are seized, I will be transporting somewhere near a half a million dollars to Washington to the department of engraving and printing for reimbursement and that could take some months for them to go through those damaged funds and so forth.

The truck driver, 36-year-old Eric Royster of North Carolina, was fatally struck by a vehicle as he stood across the highway, watching his 18-wheeler burn due to a mechanical failure. State Highway Trooper Jason Goldberg, who investigated the scene, said the accident occurred in the wee hours of the morning after 3 a.m., and Royster was wearing dark clothing, therefore, the driver couldn’t see him.

 Officials said Royster’s co-driver said he didn’t know who the money found in the 18-wheeler belonged to.

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About $1 million cash was found in the back of a deceased truck driver’s semi trailer in Marshall, Texas.
About $1 million cash was found in the back of a deceased truck driver’s semi trailer in Marshall, Texas.
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