Troopers: Deadly Gaston County crash caused by driver who fell asleep

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — State troopers said they believe a driver fell asleep behind the wheel, causing a deadly crash in rural Gaston County early Tuesday morning.

[IMAGES: Deadly crash shuts down Gaston County highway]

Emergency crews were called around 6:30 a.m. to the scene on Dallas Cherryville Highway at Mauney Road.

Investigators told Channel 9 it appeared that the driver of a Dodge pickup truck, 33-year-old Jamison Rodgers, fell asleep while traveling south on Mauney Road as he approached the intersection of Dallas Cherryville Highway.

Troopers said Rodgers drove past the stop sign and collided with another pickup truck that was traveling east on Dallas Cherryville Highway. The driver of that truck, 52-year-old Orlando Suarez, was killed on impact, troopers said.

"He took the brunt of the impact,” Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Tyler said. “Pretty much a T-Bone type incident."

Bystanders called 911 and stopped to help.

"There is a person trapped in this car," one caller told 911 dispatch.

That caller went to check on Suarez, then realized it was too late.

"I just don't think he is OK,” she told dispatch. “He is not moving at all. He is not responding."

Charges are expected to be filed against Rodgers.

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