The wreck happened just before 9 a.m. on Highway 97 where it intersects with Highway 301 just outside Rocky Mount. It closed part of Highway 97 for nearly five hours.
Investigators said the driver of a black Honda, 18-year-old Danny Pittman, fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the centerline and hit a tanker truck. The driver of the tanker then lost control and hit a car driven by 27-year old Chanda Pittman, who died on impact.
Chanda Pittman was Danny Pittman's aunt.
"She was one who would help anybody at anytime. She never had a dull moment," said Curtis Shields, Chanda's father. "She was just a lovely person."
The tanker overturned and landed in a ditch. All three drivers were pinned inside their vehicles when emergency crews arrived.
Danny Pittman and the tanker driver were recovering Wednesday night. Danny Pittman faces a misdemeanor for causing the accident, but Shields said that is not important right now.
"We give our sympathy to his family as far as him getting well in the hospital and we just thank God it's as well as it is," Shields said.
Investigators said weather was not a factor; fatigue was.
"The driver of the black Honda, he told me: 'I fell asleep,'" a trooper said.
Chanda and Danny Pittman were students at Wesleyan College and her family said Chanda was just a few exams away from getting her degree in child development. Chanda leaves behind a husband and a son who turns 2 in February.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.