An 11-year-old girl who was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle died Sunday in a crash in southern Union County.
It happened about 2:30 p.m. on Ridge Road near Roanoke Church Road, south of Monroe, it was reported.
The Observer’s news partner WBTV quotes family spokesperson Erik Saxon as identifying the girl as 11-year-old Laila Short. Saxon, director of Charlotte Junior Rugby, told WBTV that the girl was part of the rugby team.
Charlotte TV station WSOC reported the girl died while riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by her cousin, 28-year-old Cody Wangerin, of Monroe. He failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection and collided with a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, the station said.
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Laila was rushed to the hospital but died from her injuries, it was reported.
Short's cousin suffered a lacerated liver and an injured foot, WBTV reported.
Laila's father, Richard, issued a statement to WBTV Monday:
“Laila’s heart was so beautiful. She always just wanted to make everyone smile. She loved her cousin very much. He was driving during the accident.
The family wants people to know how hard it is to believe he (the cousin) ran a stop sign, as he never would do that without something having gone wrong. Even today two hours after a second surgery to save his liver, he ripped out his breathing tube out so he could ask the nurse how Laila was. This is a heartbreaking time for our family.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with medical bills and funeral expenses.
“Laila Short was one of our rugby warrior princesses and will forever be missed,” says the GoFundMe page.