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

The child died at 4 a.m. Sunday, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A six-year-old boy died and his father was seriously injured when a racing driver crashed into their car in Gaston County late Saturday night, North Carolina Highway Patrol said. 

Troopers said two cars, a Dodge Challenger driven by Gracie Eaves, 20, of Bessemer City, and an Audi coupe driven by Donnie Cobb, 46, of Kings Mountain were speeding east on U.S. 74 near Sparrow Spring Road just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We've got some witness accounts that are putting it anywhere from 80, 90 to 100 miles per hour," Trooper Ray Pierce said.

Investigators said at some point, the two cars sideswiped each other, which caused Cobb's car to go into a grassy median and out to the westbound lanes, where he crashed into Santiago Lagunas' car.

Trooper Pierce said Lagunas' six-year-old son, Liam, was properly buckled in the back seat at the time of the crash. 

NCHSP said all three people were taken to hospitals for treatment. Liam Lagunas died around 4 a.m. Sunday. His father was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia. Cobb was transferred to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in critical condition.

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On Monday morning, Highway Patrol shut down U.S. 74 for a few hours to allow members of the agency's crash reconstruction team to gather evidence.

Trooper Pierce said charges are forthcoming.

"One bad decision not only affects you, but it affects everyone around you," Trooper Pierce said.

If drivers see a vehicle coming up behind them quickly, Trooper Pierce recommended drivers do not "brake check" and call *47 if in North Carolina.

"If you want to hit that left shoulder, hit the right shoulder, get out of those subject's way," Trooper Pierce said.

A family friend has started a fundraiser on GoFundMe.

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