Jan 18, 2023 - News

North Carolina Auditor Beth Wood charged with hit-and-run

A portrait of N.C. state Auditor Beth Wood.

State Auditor Beth Wood's official portrait. Photo: N.C. State Audtior's Office.

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood released a statement Monday after days of silence about charges she's facing for a hit-and-run.

Details: Wood, a Democrat who has served as state auditor since 2009, wrecked her state-owned vehicle Dec. 8, by driving her car over the hood of a parked car near Salisbury and Hargett Streets in downtown Raleigh. She fled the scene.

  • Wood is charged with a Class 2 hit-and-run, leaving the scene and property damage. Wood also received an infraction for unsafe movement. She'll appear in court Thursday.

Why it matters: Wood's statement Monday comes after days of mounting criticism over her silence.

  • "I was shaken by the incident and, when I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene," Wood said. "That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision."

Between the lines: Wood did not say whose Christmas party she was attending or where it was, but Rufus Edmisten, a Democratic lobbyist who previously served as secretary of state and attorney general, threw a Christmas party the same evening of Wood's accident, according to two people who said they were invited.

  • Wood's wreck happened almost directly in front of Edmisten's law office.
  • Edmisten declined to comment in an email to Axios Monday, citing the ongoing case.

The details: At least three people called 911 in quick succession to alert police of the incident, saying a black Toyota Camry, which one caller described as "a state-owned vehicle," was on top of a parked white car.

  • "Two of the wheels are no longer on the ground," one caller said of the black Toyota. "The other two are on the ground, and the car is on, and nobody's in it."
  • It's unclear when or how Wood left the scene.

What they're saying: The NC Republican Party and a billboard located on US-1 in Youngsville have called for Wood's resignation.

  • Gov. Roy Cooper also issued a statement Monday saying the incident is "troubling," and that he's glad Wood addressed the issue publicly.
  • Labor commissioner Josh Dobson and state treasurer Dale Folwell, both Republicans, said in statements that Wood is a "committed," "dedicated and effective public servant," WRAL reported.
  • Insurance commissioner Mike Causey, a Democrat, called for more transparency on the incident, according to WRAL.

What's next: Wood will appear in court and enter a plea on the charges Thursday.

  • "It will be handled the same way any of those sorts of charges typically are," said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is also pursuing charges against state Attorney General Josh Stein.

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