Trooper Scott Richardson of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Dennis Earl Hawkins, 56, faces charges of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed. He received a $2,000 secured bond.
Richardson said Hawkins was traveling an estimated 60 to 65 miles per hour when his rig slammed into the back of a van driven by William Patrick Myles, 62, of Melbourne, Florida.
Traffic in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 in Northampton County had been slowing down for the installation of a message board around the 176 mile marker, the Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
Hawkins hit the van driven by Myles, knocking it into the side of another tractor-trailer.
Richardson said Myles immediately after the crash pulled his 22-year daughter from the van, which burned.
Richardson said he rescued his daughter with his spine severed and his back broken. “He made sure she was out and safe,” the trooper said this evening. “That’s the ultimate sacrifice a parent can make for a child. Doing that with a broken back and severed spine, that should be impossible.”
Myles died at Vidant in Greenville later that evening.
Richardson said troopers assigned to enforce commercial motor vehicle laws are also investigating and he is awaiting their report.
Richardson attributed the crash to driver inattention.