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Family Stands Behind Grieving Grandmother In Child's Death

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WILLOW SPRINGS, N.C. — The Wake County District Attorney's Office says a grandmother has suffered enough. No additional charges will be filed against the woman who ran a stop sign, causing a crash that killed her 9-month-old granddaughter.

A tragedy can drive a family apart, but not Cathy Royal's family. Nine-month-old Katelyn Kelbaugh died in a wreck at Highway 42 and Hilltop Road. The highway patrol says Katelyn's grandmother ran a stop sign, causing the fatal crash. But it has somehow brought the family closer.

"We know that God loves Katelyn more than we could ever love her, and we rest in a peace that perhaps the world doesn't understand," said Katelyn's father, Stephen Kelbaugh.

Dozens of wrecks and at least four deaths have happened at the intersection. The Department of Transportation plans to install a traffic light there by fall. But the state says there are no guarantees a light would have helped.

"I have never run a red light, so I think if there had been a red light there at that intersection, it wouldn't have happened," said Royal.

Cathy Royal's daughter and Katelyn's mother, Kellie Kelbaugh, said she's planning to have another child.

"I will gladly let my mother keep that child and drive that child around, also," said Kellie. "It was an accident."

Katelyn's 13-year-old uncle Jonathan Royal was in the wreck and spent days in the hospital.

"She was my life," said Jonathan. "I would get off of school early, I'd work really hard just to be able to play with her when she was at my house."

As they mourn Katelyn, the family is together.

"Hopefully the state will get the funding and we can put a light up," said Kellie. "But in the meantime, maybe we can stop others from having to go through what we had to go through."

Cathy Royal was charged with running a stop sign in the wreck. The DOT said crews will begin installing the light at Highway 42 and Hilltop in Willow Springs this summer, and hopes to have it up and running by fall.


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