Son of I-40 crash victim speaks

July 1, 2011 7:01:00 PM PDT
Three people were killed Thursday in a fiery crash on I-40 involving a tractor trailer, and people who knew the victims call their deaths senseless.

At 45-year-old Duane Smith's home in Burlington, a community is coming together.

People are remembering him for the man he was and the way he died.

"A lot of people are still really in shock," Smith's Son, Jeremy Smith, said. "It's one of those things that it's hard to believe is really true. That is happened this way, the time, everything about it."

Duane was driving a black Nissan involved in the multi-vehicle crash.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is holding 50-year-old Ronald Graybeal responsible for the crash. Troopers say Graybeal was impaired while behind the wheel.

Duane's family says now he is another statistic.

"It's something that I wish wouldn't happen, but it happens every day around the U.S., we're no different," Jeremy added But it's just truly sad that it keeps happening, and wish we could do something about it, but there's not. And all we can do is just move on."

Another victim, Barbara Caldwell, lived in Mebane.

"It's just hard to believe she's even gone," said Melvin Worth, a longtime neighbor of the Caldwell's.

Worth says Caldwell's husband was taken to the hospital early Friday morning.

"It's a tragedy," he continued. "She's such a nice lady. I see her going out to the mailbox, I see her when I go out on my walk in the morning. I see her, and talk to her. She's a very nice lady, very shocking. It doesn't seem real."

The third person killed in the crash was a 38-year-old man from Kannapolis. Graybeal's bond was set at $500,000.

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