Local News

Mom Remembers Son Killed in I-40 Accident

Posted July 28, 2007
Updated July 29, 2007

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— Not many people knew Nemeth Sanders better than his mother. On Saturday, Della Sanders talked about her son’s life and the circumstances surrounding his death.

Nemeth, 43, was killed Friday afternoon in a fiery crash on Interstate 40 that sent five others to the hospital. The pickup he was driving was pinned beneath a tractor-trailer in the accident.

“I know in my heart if Nemeth could have got out of that truck, he would have jumped out. He would have got out of that truck. I know him,” Della said.

Nemeth was returning home from the western part of the state, where he attended a training session for his job with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources. He had been an employee since June 2006.

He called his mother just a few hours before the accident to tell her he had made a 95 on a test.

“He really liked that job, and they really liked him,” Della said.

Now, he'll be buried next to his father in the family plot.

“He just enjoyed everything, you know. He loved his children very much. He loved his wife,” Della said. “He loved his sister, and he loved his mother.”

“He was just all-around good,” she added. “He was a good person.”

Della said the family will welcome any supporters at Nemeth's funeral and burial.

The funeral will be held at Joyner's Funeral Home, 4100 Raleigh Road Parkway, in Wilson at 7 p.m. Sunday. Visitation will be immediately after the funeral.

Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Sanders’ Family Cemetery, 9684 Pace Road, on the family's farm in Bailey.

Della said she does not blame anyone for her son’s death.

No charges have been filed at this time, but one of the drivers involved in the accident is facing charges of driving with a suspended license.

Robert Klimczak, 22, of Fuquay-Varina, might face additional charges, according to Trooper John Collins with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Klimczak’s family members said he unaware his license had been suspended.

The eight-vehicle accident, involving a tractor-trailer, shut down I-40 near Airport Boulevard for nearly five hours Friday.

According to authorities, three vehicles were traveling westbound on I-40 shortly before 1 p.m. when a black Dodge pickup, driven by Klimczak, collided with a red Chevrolet pickup, which sideswiped a tractor-trailer.

The tractor-trailer then crossed the median into the eastbound lanes, hitting several other vehicles, including Nemeth’s pickup truck, investigators said.

Nemeth’s truck hit a saddle tank on the side of the truck, which contained several gallons of gasoline. The saddle tank exploded upon impact and started an immediate fire, authorities said.

Three people remained in local hospitals Sunday afternoon.

Hannah Wyatt, 20, of Statesville, was in serious but stable condition at Duke University Hospital. Her nephew, Luke Harris, 8, of Statesville, was in the pediatric intensive care unit at Duke Hospital in satisfactory condition Sunday afternoon.

The tractor-trailer's driver, James Hastings, Jr., 54, of Mebane, was taken to the Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He was still listed in critical condition Sunday afternoon.