Family of 12-year-old fatally struck on I-77 believes sleepwalking led to death

- State troopers have identified a 12-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car while walking along I-77 early Sunday morning in Statesville.

According to the NC Highway Patrol, Jessey Raffaldt was staying at a nearby Best Western hotel in Statesville, snuck out of the room and stole a car that he later abandoned along the interstate.  He started to walk back toward the hotel when he was struck by a vehicle traveling in the northbound lanes shortly after 4 am, according to troopers.

Raffaldt’s family believes he was sleepingwalking when he was hit and killed while walking in traffic on I-77 early Sunday morning.

Raffaldt had just switched to a new medication to treat his special needs, and his family believes sleepwalking is a side effect of that medicine. State troopers have not confirmed if they're investigating the sleepwalking issue.

Related: 12-year-old boy struck & killed while walking along I-77 in Statesville

The driver of the vehicle that hit Raffaldt was not speeding or impaired and will not be charged in the crash.  It is illegal in North Carolina to walk along an interstate highway.

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