VIRGINA BEACH, Va (WVEC) -- Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Police said driver error led Joseph Chen’s tractor trailer to plummet off the bridge, eventually killing him.

The 47-year old died after being lifted to safety by a Navy helicopter on Thursday.

The trucker’s family is grieving in Chen’s home state of North Carolina.

“Everyone wanted to revolve themselves around him,” said Chris Moore, Chen’s stepson. “He always had a smile on his face. He could never meet a stranger.”

Moore told 13News Now his stepdad loved the open road and that he used to travel the Bridge-Tunnel with his wife often.

“She would ride with him all the time over that bridge,” said Moore. “If it would have been tonight, she said she probably would have been on the truck with him.”

Bridge officials said Chen was carrying seafood in his trailer for Evan’s Transport.

“It was the quickest way was to cross that bridge to where he needed to go,” said Moore.

Chen was trying to pass another big rig in the left lane when he veered off into the frigid Chesapeake Bay waters, police said.

His friends and family are remembering the man as a husband, father and grandfather.

“It’s just, I don’t know, it’s crazy,” Moore expressed.