It happened along U.S. Highway 264 between Zebulon and Wilson.
The Highway Patrol said a car was going east when it ended up in the opposite lane and slammed into a tractor trailer. The force of the impact sent the truck into a second tractor trailer.
The driver of the car, 60-year-old Chauncy Adrian Freeman, of Raleigh, was killed.
The two truck drivers suffered minor injuries.
The Highway Patrol is still trying to figure out what caused the crash.