by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —
A man is facing serious charges after troopers say they caught him racing with a child in the backseat. State troopers say he had prearranged a competition on I-85 in Gaston County.
Trooper Johnny Thornburg saw four similar cars getting on 85. He had a hunch, and followed them. He says he watched as two of the cars came to a near stop on the busy highway. A person stuck a hand out of a car.
"He gave a certain signal and both vehicles accelerated down the interstate at a high rate of speed," Trooper Thornburg said.
Thornburg says they were racing on 85 southbound near Cox Road.
"I was able to contact another trooper that was in the area," Thornburg said.
The troopers pulled the two drivers over.
"I located a 4-year-old child in the backseat of one of the vehicles that was involved in the prearranged racing," Thornburg said.
He told Eyewitness News Jeremy Huffman had his girlfriend's kid in the backseat of the car. Huffman has been arrested before on charges of possessing a stolen car and driving with a revoked license, but now he's a facing child abuse charge.
"The whole situation itself is aggravating to law enforcement and to the general public," Thornburg said. "Then when you locate a 4-year-old in the vehicle, it just made the whole situation even worse."
"It really was good on the trooper to do that," Brian Hemphill said.
Hemphill is glad the trooper was able to pull over the car, and get the child out of the situation safely.
"Racing at speeds like that on a highway like that--anything could have happened….it's more about the safety of the child," Hemphill said.
Huffman's car won't be back on the highway anytime soon. It was seized because of the racing charge. Huffman is facing reckless driving to endanger and child abuse, among other charges.
Eyewitness News called him to get his side of this story, but he didn't want to talk about what happened.
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