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I-85 wreck leaves 2 children injured

Accident in Gaston County brought southbound interstate traffic to a halt

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Dan Burley
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Two children were in intensive care after they were ejected from a vehicle during a single-car wreck Tuesday on Interstate 85.

The wreck happened just after 10 a.m. in Gaston County, according to the Gastonia Police Department.

The children’s mother, Maria Gonzalez Delacruz, was driving her Ford Explorer southbound when her 5-year-old son unlocked the seat belt holding his booster seat and the seat belt holding his 1-year-old sister’s car seat, according to police.

Delacruz, 29, turned to talk to the boy and address the situation when she ran over rumble strips on the side of the road. Startled, she overcorrected and flipped the SUV, ejecting the two children, police said.

Delacruz was traveling about 60 mph at the time of the accident, according to authorities.

Emergency responders transported the children to Levine Children’s Hospital, where they are in intensive care and expected to survive, said Gastonia Police Department spokeswoman Donna Lahser.

Delacruz is being treated at Caromont Regional Medical Center for injuries that weren’t life-threatening and her 8-year-old daughter, who was also in the Explorer, has been treated and released.

“We’re very lucky everyone is OK, no one was run over and there were not other wrecks resulting,” Lahser said.

Police cited Delacruz for driving with an expired license.

Lahser said investigators do not believe alcohol was involved in the wreck.

The accident stopped southbound traffic near Exit 21 on I-85 for nearly 90 minutes.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson Burley: 704-358-5085
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