by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:WADESBORO, N.C. —
Friends and family of a Gaston County couple are asking for prayers after the couple's 13-month-old daughter died in a horrific car wreck.
Police said Alexis Hooper died after the wreck on U.S. Highway 74 just east of Wadesboro on Christmas Day.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Alexis’ grandfather Reggie Hammond told Eyewitness News. “I screamed like a child and cried like a baby.”
Police said 25-year-old Alex Hooper, his wife Kelsey, and 19-year-old brother Caleb, were all in the car with Alexis, driving from Hamlet to Gastonia after celebrating the holidays with family.
Investigators said around 4 p.m., as the couple entered the city limits, the Hoopers' car began to drift out of its lane.
They crossed over into eastbound traffic and struck another vehicle head on.
“We are still investigating as to why," said Officer Josh Leviner, though investigators said drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash.
It's devastating,” Hammond said. “We're all looking for answers -- and there [are] none.”
The Hoopers' car struck a Dodge Intrepid driven by Clay and Saundra Davis, who police said were from Stanly County and had also been visiting family in the area for Christmas celebrations.
Both cars caught fire while Saundra Davis was pinned in the passenger seat, police said.
Drivers stopped to help, pulling members of both families from the burning cars.
"It was a very serious crash, I could tell that when I first pulled up," Leviner said.
Supporters have created a Facebook page, asking for prayers for the Hooper family, a thought echoed by the first responders to Wednesday's wreck.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to their families with this tragedy," Leviner said.
Alexis Hooper’s grandmother says that a fund is being set up for the family at Bank of America. It will be called The Alexis Machon Hooper Memorial Fund Contribution Account. We’re told people can start to donate money there beginning on Jan. 3.