It happened near the Airport Boulevard exit at Mile Marker 285.
Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed a pickup truck and a SUV resting next to each other in the median. Another vehicle smashed through a barricade on the shoulder and went down a steep embankment.
The dead driver was identified as Joshua Dylan Cobb, 19, of Snow Camp, NC. He was not wearing a seat belt according to troopers. Three other people in the four vehicles involved were taken to Rex Hospital.
They were identified late Friday as Ashley Meyer of Raleigh, Charles Oskins of Raleigh, and Zachary Jones of Raleigh. Sarah Uhland of Cary was also involved in the accident, but was not hurt.
Eyewitness Timothy Hardee said he saw the whole thing.
"The car that was in front of us in the left lane, kind of the middle lane, it kind of turned, just tried to get over and when he tried to get over he didn't see the car beside him, he hit the guardrail and then another one started flipping and then another guy tried to avoid it and he run over the embankment," he explained. "It wasn't a nice place to be."
Troopers said it appeared the chain of events began when one of the vehicles slowed to avoid debris in the road and a car coming up behind swerved to avoid it.
The investigation continues and no charges have been filed.