HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Where is Alyssa?
That’s the question Alyssa Nicole Taylor’s family and law enforcement are asking two weeks after the truck driver whom she was last traveling with died in a fiery crash on Interstate 85 in Orange County, North Carolina.
Taylor, 25, of Accomack County, Virginia, was last heard from in a Sept. 13 text to her mother, sent at 11:15 p.m., according to the News & Observer.
In that message, Taylor, a mother of two, said she was “riding with Danny in tractor-trailer for two days.”
The “Danny” she referred to was Daniel Eugene McNeal, 51, of Exmore, Virginia, who died in the early hours of Sept. 15 — just hours after Taylor’s last text — when his tractor-trailer ran off the road and struck a guardrail before hitting a traffic sign and bridge abutment, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The Mack truck, which was hauling chicken parts, then overturned and came to a rest on the right shoulder.
McNeal’s dog, Blu, was also killed in the wreck.
The crash shut down the overpass and traffic on I-85 South for several hours as crews cleared the wreckage and officials from the North Carolina Department of Transportation assessed the damage.
Taylor’s family believes she also died in the crash, but despite “exhaustive efforts” by the highway patrol, the only bodies found have been that of McNeal and his dog, according to WRAL. Taylor was reported missing to the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 20.
The last time anyone spoke to McNeal was at 1:17 a.m. on Sept. 14. That call ended at 1:30 a.m., about 40 minutes before the truck crashed.
Law enforcement also is looking into whether Taylor’s cell phone last pinged a cell tower near Henderson.
A singed, ash-encrusted pink blanket with teddy bears on it was found in the wreckage. Taylor’s family identified it as hers, saying she never went anywhere without the blanket.
In a video, Krista Taylor made a brief, tearful appeal for information about her daughter, so the family can find closure and “have some funeral services for my baby.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.