‘We were planning his birthday. We weren’t planning a funeral.’ Mother speaks about son killed in crash connected to street racing

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 11:55 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Brandi Birrittier and Santiago Lagunas are planning to host a funeral for their little boy just days before the child would have turned 7 years old. Their son, Liam Lagunas, was killed after injuries sustained in a late June car crash. He was set to turn 7 on July 14.

Troopers said two cars were racing, traveling between 90 and 100 mph, when one of the cars lost control, crashed through the median and hit a car traveling the opposite direction head-on. Santiago Lagunas and his son were in the car that was hit.

No one has been charged in connection to the crash. Troopers tell WBTV they are still awaiting the results of toxicology reports for the drivers who were allegedly racing.

Birrittier and Lagunas spoke to WBTV in an interview Wednesday night, describing their son as a caring, compassionate little boy.

“He was just the best kid - his smile, his hug, nobody was a stranger. He always put other people before him and he cared if you were sad or mad,” explained Birrittier.

Santiago Lagunas is still suffering from injuries sustained in the crash. He is currently wearing a neck brace and walking with a walker. He is dealing with physical and emotional pain.

“(I) wake up every morning and (Liam’s) not there. It’s not easy,” said Lagunas.

While Liam’s parents will continue to grieve, the quest for justice is also a priority. Both parents say they want the drivers who were allegedly racing to be held accountable for the crash that cost Liam his life.

“My son lost his life due to street racing and it could have been prevented,” said Birrittier. “I could sit in bed and I could cry all day and I could be that person, but Liam got his strength from me and so I have to continue to have that strength for him.”

Birrittier explained that she is committed to making sure people remember what happened to her son.

“It’s just bringing that awareness to that area and that wreck scene. Letting people know that it could have been them, could have been their family, could have been their son,” said Birrittier.

Liam Lagunas’ funeral will be held Thursday evening at Flint Groves Baptist Church on East Ozark Avenue in Gastonia. Birrittier said doors will open at 5 p.m. and the service will begin at 6 p.m. She said anyone who would like to attend is welcome.

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