ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. - A volunteer firefighter died after a head-on crash in Alexander County on Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators said William Shook, 42, drifted across the center line, into the path of a dump truck around 3 p.m. near Taylorsville.
Officials said there was no snow on the ground at the time and that weather was not a factor in the crash.
Volunteers were stopping by the Central Alexander fire department in Taylorsville.
Shook was a lieutenant and had been with the department for two decades.
Inside the firehouse, firefighters leaned on each other after the death of Shook on Highway 90 just a few miles west of town.
Firefighters said Shook was driving a pickup truck when he drifted across the centerline and into the path of a dump truck.
Leona Gravley was working at Big D’s Dinner nearby where employees heard the crash and saw his fellow firefighters show up at the scene.
"Grown men crying over another man. It is something you just don't ever want to see. But they just sat down and let it out,” Gravely said.
Firefighter Justin Deal showed Channel 9 a photo of Shook when he helped coordinate the department's firefighting program from nearly twenty years ago.
Shook leaves behind a wife and 5-year-old daughter and his extended family at the department who lowered the flag out front hours after the crash in his memory.
"It is just a big family. We've lost a member of our family. There will always be a void there that nothing will be able to fill,” Deal said.
The Highway Patrol said the accident remains under investigation. They don't know why Shook crossed the centerline. They didn't find any evidence he braked before the impact and are looking at whether a medical condition could have caused the wreck.
"Everybody is pretty much in shock at this time but we're trying to do what we can for the family,” Deputy Chief Charlie Marshal said.
Channel 9 learned that some of the other departments have offered to run calls for Taylorsville but firefighters were helping another department fighting a house fire Wednesday morning.