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24-year-old arrested in fatal hit-and-run crash that killed two people in Gastonia

Katelyn Abernathy was traveling along the 400 block of East Long Avenue when she ran up on the sidewalk and struck Charles Henry Love, 61, and Keytiada Cooke, 31.

GASTONIA, N.C. — A woman has been arrested following a fatal hit-and-run crash in Gastonia early Sunday morning, the Gastonia Police Department reports.

According to police, 24-year-old Katelyn Abernathy was traveling along the 400 block of East Long Avenue when she ran up on the sidewalk and struck Charles Henry Love, 61, and Keytiada Cooke, 31, both of Gastonia. 

Police report Love died on the scene and Cooke died at the hospital. 

Abernathy is charged with two counts of death by motor vehicle, felony hit/run serious injury/death, failure to maintain lane control, DWI and registration plate/card expired.

At Abernathy’s first court appearance Monday, prosecutors said a witness told investigators the suspect stopped her car, got out, looked at the two people, and drove off from the scene.

Family members of Love and Cooke were at the court appearance.

"I started crying and was trying to compose myself cause that was hard to hear,” said Lovette Love, Charles Love’s sister-in-law. “And the fact that, you know, the charge was public that she left the scene…Where is the remorse?"

Family members told WCNC Charlotte that Love and Cooke were friends. Cooke’s brother, Javaris, said he thought his sister may have been walking to the store.

"It hurt families,” Javaris Cooke said. “These people got people that love them to death."

In addition to the details of the hit and run, family members are still in shock that the suspect was allegedly drinking and driving at the time of the incident.

"There are Ubers. There are Lyfts. You can call somebody to come pick you up,” Lovette Love said. “You're drinking. You're driving -- like she don't care enough about herself, but yea, that is what hurt."

The judge raised Abernathy’s bond from $250,000 to $1 million at her court appearance Monday.

Family members are now hoping for justice in the case as they remember their loved ones.

"She [Cooke] was a beautiful, intelligent, bright young lady,” her brother Javaris said.

"His last name [Love] stands for him,” said Lovette Love. “He is love because he love everybody. He gets along with everybody."

Police said the investigation is ongoing. Stay with WCNC Charlotte for the latest on this developing story. 

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