A mother and her young daughter were killed Wednesday morning in a crash in Catawba County.
The area where the crash happened is in a passing zone. Witnesses told the Highway Patrol the woman appeared to be trying to get around another car when she hit a tractor-trailer head-on.
Jerry Cassidy and his wife ran to the crash scene along Highway 150, about 100 yards from their front door.
"It shook the house,” he said.
When they got there, they found a mangled mess of metal on both sides of the highway. The truck, which belongs to a Denver company, was hauling 30,000 pounds of concrete when the accident happened.
Cassidy said he broke out the passenger-side window of the car to reach the driver, Tisa Strickland. There was so much damage that at first, he didn't see her 1-year-old daughter, Payton, in the back seat.
“(I) seen the shape the driver was in so I went around to the passenger side to comfort her for a couple of minutes and started looking through the windows and seen the baby was in the back seat and couldn't see nothing but the baby's foot under the debris,” Cassidy said. “I had no idea it was that bad.”
State troopers said the mother and daughter died at the crash scene. The Highway Patrol said the child was properly restrained in a child safety seat.
Investigators said the truck driver tried to avoid hitting the car by going off the roadway. Highway 150 east of Highway 16 was shut down for nearly six hours after the crash.
The firefighters and rescuers who were the first to arrive at the scene said their thoughts are with the family.
“Anytime we deal with something like this, it is really tough on our guys and always our thoughts are with the family and what they may be going through. It is going to be really tough on them,” said Sherrills Ford Fire Chief Justin Butler.