Mar 24, 2023 - News

NC Auditor Beth Wood pleads guilty to hit-and-run charge

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

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood told a court Thursday that she made a "grave mistake" when she was involved in a December hit-and-run in downtown Raleigh.

Driving the news: Wood pleaded guilty in Wake County District Court to a misdemeanor for driving a state car onto the hood of another vehicle, then fleeing and leaving the keys still in the car. She had been at a Democratic lobbyist's Christmas party.

Why it matters: Elected as state auditor for the first time in 2009, Wood is tasked with holding other officials and agencies accountable and uncovering waste and abuse in government.

  • But this incident remained under wraps for more than a month.

The latest: ā€œI made a grave mistake leaving the scene of my accident after a holiday party in downtown Raleigh,ā€ Wood told the court Thursday in her first explanation of the incident.

  • Wood took responsibility for her actions and was not impaired at the time, she said, but had two glasses of wine.
  • "I made an error in judgement in the moment," Wood said. "In the end, if I had made the right decision, we would not be here today."

Catch up quick: Wood's accident occurred near Salisbury and Hargett streets in downtown Raleigh on the evening of December 8.

  • "Two of the wheels are no longer on the ground," one person who called 911 said of Wood's car. "The other two are on the ground, and the car is on, and nobody's in it."
  • Four days later, she was charged with a Class 2 hit-and-run, leaving the scene and property damage.
  • Two other people were also charged related to the incident, WRAL reported.
  • Wood has paid more than $11,000 in restitution, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said, and a judge on Thursday fined her about $300 on top of that.
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