Friends said the victims, all students at Wakefield High School -- Baker Wood, 18; Anthony Bostic, 17; Steven George, 18; and Timothy Steinberg, 18 -- were returning from Greenville, where they had been watching a championship high-school basketball game.
According to investigators, the vehicle in which they were traveling was going at a speed of more than 100 mph when the driver lost control of the car, which flew over the side of an exit ramp near the new N.C. Highway 64 Bypass, crashed into a wooded area and then burst into flames.
Police also seized a digital camera and a photo flash card that they think may be able to help them better understand what happened to lead to the accident.
Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said that pictures on the camera could provide clues to investigators about what the students may have been doing before the crash.
"As the officer prepared the search warrant, he had to be fairly confident that there was some type of connection between the beer cans and the vehicle," Sughrue said.
Investigators plan to retrace the teens' activities to pinpoint the source of any alcohol.
Attorney Hoyt Tessener believes a lot of questions need answers before a liability case is established.
"Having six beer cans in the car -- does that mean the driver was drinking?" Tessener said. "Was one person drinking? If you can determine that, you might be able to determine if there is a cause of action."
Investigators are waiting on toxicology tests to determine if in fact alcohol was in the system of any of the victims.