RELATED: 3 killed in crash on I-40 in Johnston County identified, 1 charged
In the call you can hear a woman desperately pleading with dispatchers for help as the flames raged on.
"Oh yes, there's a serious accident on the highway. A car just exploded I think somebody is probably dead," the caller said.
The deadly chain-reaction crash slowed I-40 traffic to a crawl for miles.
"A car's already been in an accident and now there's another one right down the road from it," the caller described.
The incident got even worse.
"Oh God, there's three car accidents. Oh god," the caller said.
The State Highway Patrol said William Van O'Neal didn't slow down enough for the already stopped traffic; instead, his tractor-trailer, carrying lumber, slammed into several other cars causing two of them to burst into flames.
"There's a car on fire I don't know if there's a person in it. I didn't see anybody get out. They just took a driver out of the other car that's now on fire. There's another car, it seems like everyone is fine in the third car," the caller told dispatchers.
Despite the efforts of several good Samaritans and the person who called for help, three people died at the scene including H. McRoy Skipper and his wife Jo along with Michael Anthony Peters.
Van O Neal is now charged with three counts of misdemeanor death.