24 January 2023
RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — New photos show the scene after a hit-and-run crash that led to Democratic North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood facing multiple charges.
The photos were shared by Chris Valverde, whose car Wood is charged with hitting.
Wood, North Carolina’s auditor since 2009, is facing a Class 2 misdemeanor for hit-and-run, as well as, leaving the scene, property damage and an infraction for unsafe movement, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told CBS 17. She has a court date set for Jan. 26.
At about 9:12 p.m. on Dec. 8, court documents say Wood, who is in her fourth term as auditor, was driving a 2021 Toyota sedan when she turned at South Salisbury Street and West Hargett Street and hit a parked 2016 Toyota Sedan.
She said she was driving from a holiday gathering in downtown Raleigh when she made a sharp right turn and “inadvertently hit a parked car.” Valverde said the car was parked after his daughter borrowed it to get to work that day.
“When I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene. That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision,” she said.
She reportedly alerted State Motor Fleet Management the next morning. Police cited her for unsafe movement and for failing to provide her name and information to the owner of the car or law enforcement.
“I apologize to the owner of the car I hit, my staff and all I serve for leaving the scene of the accident,” she said. “I have learned from this mistake and am fully accepting personal responsibility for my actions.”
Wood’s statement is included in full below:
“On the evening of December 8, 2022, I attended a holiday gathering in downtown Raleigh. I was at the event for approximately two hours. When I left, I made a sharp right turn and inadvertently hit a parked car. I was shaken by the incident and, when I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene. That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision.
The next morning, I notified State Motor Fleet Management that I was involved in an accident and subsequently was cited by police for unsafe movement and for failing to provide my name and other information to the owner of the car or a law enforcement officer.
I sincerely regret my actions and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. I have served the people of North Carolina as their State Auditor since 2009. I made a mistake in judgment on December 8, but I am committed to continuing to perform my duties with the same energy and determination I am known for.
I apologize to the owner of the car I hit, my staff and all I serve for leaving the scene of the accident. I have learned from this mistake and am fully accepting personal responsibility for my actions.”
Her statement released Monday comes after a billboard emerged in Youngsville over the weekend, calling for her resignation.
As of Saturday, people reported seeing the billboard on the corner of US-1 and NC-96.
In response to her statement, Valverde issued his own:
“Mrs. Wood has made her bed and now has to sleep in it. I just hope that the justice system is fair and impartial when handling this case and not use her position as a privilege to skate out of it unscathed. What she did is wrong. Not only the hit and run, but the lack of communication with me and the people of North Carolina as well. Her silence speaks volumes of her character and how she handles tough situations, I can only imagine how she handles tough situations when it comes to the duties and responsibilities of being the state auditor.”
The North Carolina Republican Party also responded to Wood’s statement, calling for her to resign.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s press secretary Sam Chan released a statement Monday afternoon about the situation:
“This was a troubling incident and the Governor is glad that the Auditor has addressed it publicly. The Governor has not communicated with her about it. There’s an investigation and court proceeding going on and he believes it’s appropriate for that to proceed,” Chan said.