Family friend Jane Williams is devastated by the sudden death of 37-year-old Kevin Shelton of Pittsgrove.
"He loved his kids. When he was at home, when he wasn't working, he had them with him all the time," family friend Jane Williams said.
Shelton of Pittsgrove was driving westbound on Route 40 when the crash occurred around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday in the Salem County community.
Authorities say it appears Shelton's car crossed over the center line, but the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
The vehicles collided with such force parts of the car were imbedded into the front of the 18 wheeler.
The truck's driver told a witness he kept thinking the car would return to his proper lane.
"He just said the guy kept coming over and over in his lane and there was nothing he could do," witness Harrison Godshall said.
Shelton and his 5-year-old son, Cole, died in the crash.
His 3-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was airlifted in critical condition to Cooper University Hospital.
There were child seats in the car, but it is not clear if Cole was strapped in.
"We are still at the preliminary stage, we are looking at possibility of distracted; there were still two children in the back so you never know with that," New Jersey State Trooper Jason Pasqua said.
Jane Williams says Kevin Shelton had faced a lot of heartache. He and the children moved back to his parent's home after Cole and Cassidy's mom suffered a severe debilitating health issue.
"He had a girlfriend, the mother of the children, and it's about three years ago, she had a aneurysm and she is in a hospital bed," Williams said.
Robert Peck, a 47-year-old Tennessee resident who was driving the truck, was not injured. He was hauling a load of paper.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.