State auditor says “I was shaken”, had left holiday party night of hit-and-run

State auditor says “I was shaken”, had left holiday party night of hit-and-run
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:29 AM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) - North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood on Monday released a statement about the crash she was involved in last month.

WRAL is reporting that in the written statement, Wood described she was “shaken” when she crashed her state-issued car into a parked car in downtown Raleigh on Dec. 8, 2022. Wood said she was leaving a holiday gathering and admitted to making a mistake by not reporting the crash when it happened.

Her complete statement reads:

“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.”

Chris Valverde, who owns the car Wood hit, told WRAL News his daughter borrowed his car the night of the hit-and-run.

“I get a phone call from my daughter [who] literally … says, ‘There’s a car on top of the car,’” Valverde said.

The damage to Valverde’s car, which was parked near the intersection of Hargett and Salisbury streets in downtown Raleigh, led to a hit-and-run charge against Wood.

In an interview with WRAL News, Valverde described that call and other details about what happened that night. WRAL News also obtained images matching his account of the crash.

Valverde’s daughter had borrowed the car to go to work at a downtown restaurant.

“One of the last things [my daughter] told me was, ‘Hey, the car that’s on top of my car is a state government vehicle,’” he said.

The black, state-owned Toyota Camry — the one issued to Wood — was left at the scene with the engine on, according to a police report.

“The driver of the vehicle appeared to have fled the scene,” the report said.

Wood, 68, was charged Dec. 12 with misdemeanor hit-and-run. She is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Wood noted that she was driving 15 mph and was not using a mobile device or reaching for something.