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Boy killed in four-car pileup

DULUTH -- A 7-year-old Lawrenceville boy died Monday afternoon in a chain-reaction crash involving four cars, Gwinnett police said.

The pileup happened about 3:50 p.m. near the intersection of Boggs Road and Breckinridge Boulevard in Duluth.

Police identified the victim Tuesday as Joshua Rodriguez. He was traveling eastbound on Boggs Road in the back seat of a 2000 Honda Civic driven by his mother, Vivian Nguyen, 28, police said.

Nguyen failed to stop while approaching the intersection and rear-ended a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro stopped for traffic, which in turn was pushed forward into 2000 Mercedes S500, which struck a 2005 Dodge Magnum from behind, police said. No other serious injuries were reported.

The victim was strapped into the middle of the Honda's back seat with a lap belt, with an 8-year-old child beside him, police said. He was transported to an area hospital and later pronounced dead.

Joshua did not come out of the lap belt upon impact, and it's unknown if his position in the car affected the severity of injuries, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Brian Kelly said. The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office will determine an official cause of death, he said.

A Gwinnett Public Schools spokesperson said Joshua attended second-grade at Burnette Elementary School in Suwanee.

Police on Tuesday reminded parents that children are safest when riding in the back seat, buckled in by both lap and shoulder belts, or a properly used child safety seat.

"Many vehicles provide a middle-rear seat that's only equipped with a lap belt," Kelly said. "The dynamics of a collision between two vehicles can render that simple restraint ineffective."

Traffic charges are pending in the ongoing investigation, Kelly said.

Staff Writer Heather Darenberg contributed to this report.