Trooper J.D. Warren of the state Highway Patrol said Melvyn Burns, 82, had been visiting family over the holidays in Florida and was returning home when the crash occurred near the 170 mile marker in the Roanoke Rapids area.
Burns veered off the road in the northbound lane of the interstate and struck the back of a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder.
Warren said it remains unclear why the rig was parked on the side of the road. It also remains unclear why Burns veered off the roadway. The state Highway Patrol is waiting on the results of an autopsy report.