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Toddler critically injured in Walkertown crash; unidentified left-of-center driver blamed

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WALKERTOWN, N.C. — Chris Leupold calls his 16-month-old grandson Mason “papa’s angel.”

“When he walks in a room, he just has a big smile,” Leupold said.

Leupold and his family are praying that they will see that smile again as Mason lies in critical condition at Brenner Children’s Hospital after a tree landed on the family’s truck Sunday, crushing around the toddler.

He’s suffering from head injuries and loss of oxygen.

“We don’t know what to do,” Leupold said. “We just know that we’re all in pain right now.”

“They told us it didn’t look good for us,” he said.

Around 3:23 Sunday afternoon, a car going left of center on N.C. 66 in Walkertown forced Leupold’s son-in-law, Stewart Roten, off the road and into a tree, according to Highway Patrol.

“The car struck the tree and [the tree] came down on the roof,” said Trooper Brett Bush.

Bush says the driver never stopped.

‘It’s very disheartening, very sad,” Bush said. “We feel for the family.”

Along with praying for Mason’s recovery, the family is calling for justice.

“Someone has to know,” said Teresa Roten, Mason’s grandmother. “Someone has to know who this is.”

An unanswered question the family says makes dealing with the accident even harder.

“We’re heartbroken,” Leupold said. “We’re sad. We’re numb. None of us know what to do.”

But for now, they’re turning to their faith.

“We’ve left it in God’s hands,” Leupold said. “We do ask for everybody to pray.”

Troopers say they are looking for the driver of a black Chevy Impala.

Anyone with information is asked to call Highway Patrol at (336) 761-2441.

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