Investigators say the crash began with a smaller rear-end accident on the shoulder just west of the Harrison Ave. exit. A car stopped because of the traffic and was rear-ended by the truck which also hit another car. A total of six cars were involved by the time it ended.
Three people were taken to the hospital.
Gerry Reid was airlifted to Duke Hospital with a broken neck. He died of his injuries Thursday afternoon.
Authorities have charged the driver of the semi-truck Paul Harris with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
The 43-year-old was a software engineer in the Triangle.
Scott Greenough and Mark Turner have known Reid for about 18 years. They say he had a great sense of humor, loved hockey, and was quick to make friends.
"He was my guy, he was my friend, I miss him," Greenough said.
"He had a gift for bringing people together," Turner said. "It's really just stunning to think that he's gone."
Many of Reid's colleagues have flocked to the "Friends of Gerry Reid" Facebook page to share stories of how he touched their lives.
"It's just, it's just kind of empty," Greenough said.
"I thought we would grow old together, swapping stories, trying to help each other's memories alive when we're 80-years-old, but that's not gonna happen now," Turner said.
The family's Caring Bridge website has also been busy, logging thousands of visits from people offering comfort to Reid's wife and two young children.
"We'll always be there for her, we'll always be there for the kids, I know it," Greenough said. "I love him and I miss him and I hope to see him again one day."
Reid's funeral will be held Saturday, March 13, at Asbury United Methodist Church on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh.
Reid's friends are also planning a memorial party for him later this summer.