11-year-old girl killed while riding motorcycle in Union Co., troopers say

11-year-old girl killed while riding motorcycle in Union Co., troopers say

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — An 11-year-old girl riding on the back of a motorcycle was killed in a crash Sunday afternoon in Union County, state troopers said.

Crews responded to the crash scene around 2:30 p.m. on Ridge Road near Roanoke Church Road.

Investigators told Channel 9 that the driver of the Harley Davidson motorcycle, 28-year-old Cody Wangerin, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection and collided with a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

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Wangerin's passenger, 11-year-old Laila Short, was rushed to the hospital but died from her injuries, troopers said.

Wangerin, of Monroe, was also taken to the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

"That's heartbreaking. My prayers and stuff goes out to the family," a neighbor said.

Troopers said they are still investigating and that it does not appear alcohol was a factor.

Troopers said there is no age requirement to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle in North Carolina as long as the passenger is tall enough to touch the foot pegs.

Short was a fifth-grader at Poplin Elementary School.

"I wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially a parent," a neighbor said.

Troopers said Wangerin is in critical condition but could face charges if he recovers.

Authorities said Wangerin and Short were wearing helmets.

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