Driver dead, 2-year-old seriously hurt in I-40 crash Christmas morning, NC troopers say

A pickup fight is blamed for a fatal accident, according to NC Highway Patrol, in which a driver and a 2-year-old were thrown from different vehicles onto Interstate 40 in Burke County.
Pickup driver Monica Torres-Garcia (39) from Bessemer City later died in a hospital in Valdese.
The toddler suffered serious injuries and is being hospitalized in Charlotte, according to a press release.
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Investigators say the crash happened at 1 a.m. on Friday in the Morganton area, about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte.
"A 2020 Ford F-150 drove east and started driving recklessly as the occupants were engaged in a verbal argument," Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger said in the press release.
“The pickup wiped a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer heading east, and both vehicles hit the guardrail several times. The driver of the Ford and a 2-year-old passenger in the Chevrolet were both ejected during the collision. Alcohol is suspected as a contributing factor. "
One passenger in the pickup suffered minor injuries and was not hospitalized, he said.
The driver of the Chevrolet Trailblazer was identified as 30-year-old Amanda Palumbo from Winston-Salem. She and four children in the vehicle suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital in Valdese, Swagger said in the release.
The 2-year-old, who wasn't properly restrained in a car seat, was rushed to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, he said.

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