A state police report said there was "no driver at the scene of the collision," WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported. But Carolyn Ann Watkins' body was discovered still in the car after her family filed a missing persons report Monday.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that Trooper M.D. Williams, who ordered the car towed Friday, has been suspended with pay while the incident is investigated.
Watkins, 62, a Clayton resident, apparently went off the road in Smithfield, with her Pontiac Sunfire ending up in a ditch at the bottom of an embankment.
Her family said they began looking for her Saturday but did not report her missing until she failed to show up for work Monday.
Patricia Parker, her daughter-in-law, said the family is worried by the possibility that Watkins might still have been alive when the car was discovered.
"If they would've got her out like they should have, medical attention could've taken care of what was wrong with her," Parker said.