Early Tuesday morning, when much of the local population was asleep, 18-year-old William Lewis Jamere Mayo Jr. was driving south on Crain Highway en route to work at United Parcel Service in Waldorf.

A sophomore at Prince George's Community College, Mayo worked morning shifts at UPS, then attended classes in the afternoon, finding time for studying, family and music whenever he could.

Mayo never made it to work Tuesday. His 2000 Toyota Avalon slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Mayo died at the scene.

Police said Mayo, of Temple Hills, apparently fell asleep at the wheel.

"I don't know if he went to sleep" that night, said his grandmother Kay Mayo, 61. "He gets tired, but he knows he's got to do what he's got to do to accomplish what he wants to get accomplished."

The accident happened on Crain Highway -- Route 301 -- just north of Berry Road (Route 228). A tractor-trailer driven by Shaunta L. Ballard, 28, was slowing to stop at a red light. Mayo's car did not brake, and it plowed into the back of the truck.

Mayo's death was the 33rd traffic fatality in Charles County this year.

David Gissentanna, 36, remembered his nephew as soft-spoken with a love for music and family.

He started playing the drums when he was 2 years old and was active in bands for the rest of his life. He played a five-piece drum set and the trombone, Gissentanna said. Mayo was involved in a band at Bowie State University. He had planned to transfer there next semester, his uncle said.

Mayo graduated from Friendly High School in Fort Washington and spent last year at St. Augustine's College in North Carolina, where he was elected vice president of the freshman class, but he decided to come home to Maryland this year.

"We have a real close-knit family," Gissentanna said. "He just wanted to be real close to home."

Cpl. Eric Diggs of the Maryland State Police said fatigue seemed to be at fault.

Ballard, the driver of the truck, was not injured.

In Charles County, the sheriff's office and the state police have made traffic safety a priority in response to the high number of traffic fatalities this year, now nearly double the 2004 total of 17.

Officials say they don't know what is responsible for the jump.

In late July, the sheriff's office warned that the number of traffic deaths might top 50 if the pace of the crashes did not slow.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.