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Man arrested in connection with street racing crash that killed 6-year-old

Donnie Cobb is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, in connection with a crash that killed a 6-year-old boy in Gaston County last month.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Kings Mountain man was arrested late Thursday in connection with a street racing crash that killed a 6-year-old boy last month. 

Donnie Ray Cobb, 46, is facing multiple charges for a crash that resulted in the death of Liam Lagunas on June 26. Troopers said Cobb and another driver were speeding on U.S. 74 near Sparrow Spring Road when the two cars sideswiped each other, sending Cobb's car across the median where he crashed into a car driven by Santiago Lagunas. 

Troopers said Liam Lagunas was properly buckled in the backseat at the time of the crash. He was rushed to a hospital where he died the next day. Santiago Lagunas was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia. Cobbs was taken to Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. 

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Cobb was booked just before midnight Thursday night. He is charged with second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to seriously injure, reckless driving, DWI and speed competition. He is being held without bond in the Gaston County Jail. 

RELATED: Boy killed, father injured when racing driver hits their car, troopers say

During Cobb's first court appearance Friday afternoon, Judge Michael lands set a $1 million bond.

"Are there any way you can lower the bond, your Honor, so I can make it?" Cobb asked. "I got staples down my chest. I've had a collapsed lung. I've got two legs that's broke..."

Judge Lands interrupted, "Sir, your bond is what I gave you."

Liam Lagunas' parents, Brandi Birrittier and Santiago Lagunas, came to court to watch the hearing.

"He was worried about his injuries and not [Santiago's] or my son's [injuries] so that shows you the kind of person he is," Birrittier said. "The justice system has to fight for my baby, and they will."

Highway Patrol said witnesses told investigators that Cobb and the other driver, were speeding in excess of 90 mph before the crash. 

Patricia Hope was driving behind the Lagunas' car, and she called 911 after witnessing the crash.

"I'm just glad they finally got something done about it because I don't think the little boy needed to die in vain," Hope said.

Trooper Ray Pierce said Highway Patrol's full investigation won't be completed for another two to three months, and he said they expect to charge the second driver who, troopers alleged, was racing with Cobb.

"It's a long and tedious process, but charges will be filed, and these drivers will be held accountable," Trooper Pierce said.

Prosecutors said Cobb's case is expected to be presented before a grand jury on Monday.

RELATED: 60 vehicles seized by CMPD in ongoing street racing investigation

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