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Catawba student dies in I-85 crash

A Catawba College student died in a wreck Tuesday night on Interstate 85 in Davidson County.

Taylor McGayhey Chafatelli, 21, of Elon, was driving south on I-85 near Thomasville around 8:30 p.m. when her 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt drifted into the next lane and came into contact with a tractor-trailer, a N.C. State Highway Patrol trooper told the Lexington Dispatch.

The front passenger door of Chafatelli’s car hit the left front wheel of the tractor-trailer, the trooper said. Chafatelli’s car then hit a guardrail three times. She was ejected from the vehicle. Troopers suspect she was not wearing a seat belt, the Dispatch reported.

Chafatelli was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

Investigators did not suspect that Chafatelli was impaired, the Dispatch reported, but were trying to determine if she had become distracted.

A message on the Catawba College website says Chafatelli was a junior communication arts major. Campus officials were to lower the college flag to half-staff and planned to set up a table in the Student Center where the campus community could express condolences to Chafatelli’s family.

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