Local News

Man convicted in teen's 2007 DWI death arrested again

Posted January 18, 2016

— Nine years have passed since a Wakefield High School student died in drinking-related crash, and the classmate responsible for the wreck has again been charged with drinking and driving.

Christopher John Palmeri, 27, of Raleigh, was arrested at about 1 a.m. Monday in Wake Forest following a single-vehicle crash on Ligon Mill Road near Seawell Road. Police said he was intoxicated, and they found marijuana in the car.

Palmeri was charged with driving while impaired, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released after posting a $2,000 bond.

On Jan. 13, 2007, Palmeri had been drinking at an underage party and then went speeding down Wakefield Plantation Drive when he lost control of his car. The car clipped a tree and rolled down an embankment, killing 18-year-old Sadiki Young.

Palmeri pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Young's death and, as he was sentenced to five months in prison and five years on probation, vowed to turn his life around.

"If I do not go to prison, I can make a difference," he said at the time. "I can further my education, (do) public speaking at schools and help prevent accidents like this from happening again."

Monday's arrest marks Palmeri's ninth arrest since then.

In 2009, charges that he had stolen beer from a supermarket were dropped.

The following year, he violated his probation, and he served another five months in jail. In 2014, he tested positive for drugs and confessed to using marijuana and heroin.

Palmeri couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

Young’s mother, Rosemarie Newman, who has been active in raising awareness among teens of the dangers of drinking and driving, also couldn't be reached for comment.

Newman has said previously that her dreams that Palmeri would become a beacon of hope have been replaced by the bitter reality that he has failed to learn the lessons that her son paid for with his life.

"My family is still reeling from the havoc the loss of my son created," she said in 2013. "Sadly, the Palmeris lost someone too, because that's not the person they raised."


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