8-year-old among 3 hurt in head-on crash near school

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GASTONIA, N.C. —

An 8-year-old boy was on the way to school with his father when they were involved in a head-on collision in front of an elementary school in Gastonia early Friday morning.
 
Officials said Melissa McDermott, 36, had just dropped off her child and was leaving school on Lewis Road.

She was still in the school zone when troopers said a car driven by Christopher Stroupe crossed the center line and hit her head on.
 
The crash happened around 8:15 a.m. about a block from Chapel Grove Elementary School.
 
All three were taken to a hospital. Witnesses said the child seemed to have the worst injuries and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center.

One witness said the collision here was so loud he thought a car hit his house. He lives about half a block from where those two cars collided.

Neighbors say the boy somehow got out of the car before anyone arrived. He was lying beside the car when they heard him crying.

“I could hear him screaming. We went down there to check on him,” said Sherrie Holcomb.

"I'm just hoping he is OK. He goes to the same school as my little girl," said Mark Holcomb.

Police and firefighters had the road closed and a medical helicopter was initially called to the scene but was canceled.

Stroupe and McDermott were taken to Caromont Regional in Gastonia.

Troopers are still trying to figure out what caused the collision.

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