Investigators said Rodney L. Pendleton, 34, of Goldsboro, had beendriving six hours when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. Thefamily's 1995 Mercury ran off the right side of the road, colliding with atractor-trailer that had been parked on the shoulder. The impact of thecrash sheared off the car's roof.
Pendleton's wife, Susan, 32, and their son Anthony, 15, died in thecrash. Their 12-year-old daughter Courtney was critically injured.He, his daughter and Jacob, his 5-year-old son, were taken to a localhospital. Jacob and Pendleton were reported in good condition.
Pendleton is an Air Force master sergeant stationed at Seymour JohnsonAir Force Base in Goldsboro.
The wreck occurred near the Fayetteville Road exit from I-40 at about3:30 Sunday morning. The family had left Waverly, Ohio, at 8 p.m.
The rig's driver, Harold Melton, 41, of Jacksonville, had stopped histruck to check on a car abandoned on the highway. He thought it belongedto someone he knew.
Officers said Melton would not be charged in the accident; it has notbeen determined if Pendleton will be charged.
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