Two pedestrians were injured and one died in a Sunday evening incident involving law enforcement vehicles in West Gastonia.
One of the two was allegedly struck by the vehicle being pursued by a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff's Office. The officer noticed the car being driven erratically on Rankin Avenue near Highland Street and began an attempt to stop the vehicle about 7:30 Sunday evening.
In only seconds after the chase began, the two pedestrians were both struck--one of them by the fleeing culprit. Witnesses said the other was hit by the Sheriff's Office car.
The younger of the two, Antel Dion Garnigan, a young man in his late teens, was pronounced dead on arrival at CaroMont Regional Medical Center. The other, Shawn Smith, a man in his late 40s, was listed in critical condition at the hospital.
One witness, a relative to one of the two pedestrians, said the Sheriff's Office car also struck the younger man as he lay injured in the roadway. Another said the officer's car struck Smith as he attempted to get out of the roadway after being hit by the fleeing car.
Following striking the pedestrians, the fleeing vehicle went through the Highland Street intersection and crashed. The driver, Joshua Todd Soule, 47, of Hickory was arrested. Initial charges against him included driving while impaired and fleeing to elude arrest. Later, a charge of second degree murder was added.
The Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation but initial information indicates the Patrol doesn't believe the deputy's vehicle actually struck either of the victims.
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