The shooting happened around 1 p.m. on Highway 70 near Edwards Road.
Authorities identified the driver as 20-year-old Darius Jayquan Rogers of Clayton.
"You never know, unfortunately, in today's time a speeding car could be somebody rushing to the hospital, or somebody attempting to get away from a crime scene," said Sgt. Michael Baker, spokesman for the Highway Patrol.
The trooper, later identified as Sgt. J. M. Dorsey, pulled the driver over for going 96 mph in a 55-mph zone.
During the traffic stop, an altercation occurred with the driver, who was armed with a handgun, and as a result, the trooper shot him, SHP said.
"As our trooper approached the vehicle, he noticed that the driver of that vehicle, which was the only occupant inside, was armed with a handgun," Sgt. Baker said. "An armed altercation ensued."
Authorities on scene began life-saving procedures until emergency medical staff arrived.
Rogers was taken to WakeMed with serious injuries.
Sgt. Dorsey, who is from Wayne County, was not shot or seriously injured. He has been placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation which is agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting.
"The trooper had what he thought a reasonable reason to shoot the driver but that's all I can really say at this point," Baker said.
Rogers was the only person in the vehicle.
People who lived nearby heard the sounds from the incident.
"I was just sitting in there watching TV and I heard something that sounded like gunshots," said area resident George Griswold. "I run to the door and all that commotion was going on."
Another neighbor who doesn't want to be identified said he also heard the gunshots.
"I heard a couple shots and I didn't pay it any mind because of the gun club across the street over there," he said. "All of a sudden there was Highway Patrolmen, deputy sheriffs and everybody pulling up."
Another neighbor said law enforcement "has got a tough job" to do.
"A little bit unusual, but the way things are nowadays. you don't never know when it's gonna happen to you or somebody else," said Bobby Pearce. "It's a tough situation nowadays."
Baker said the Sgt. Dorsey is being placed on administrative duty.
Highway 70 is still closed in both directions as the investigation continues.