Local News

Wakefield High senior killed in Raleigh car accident

Posted January 14, 2007
Updated January 10, 2009

— A Wakefield High School student was killed and two other people were injured Sunday when the car they were traveling in ran off a North Raleigh road, police said.

The front-seat passenger, Sadiki Ayize Young, 18, of Lindley Drive, died after the 2001 Ford Escort struck the right curb of  Wakefield Plantation Drive near the intersection of Village Spring Road, slid onto the grassy shoulder, turned sideways, clipped a tree and rolled down a steep embankment.

The car's driver, Chistopher John Palmeri, 18, of High Holly Lane, and backseat passenger Frank Joseph Sambrick, 18, of Bur Trail, suffered minor injuries.

Young was a senior at Wakefield, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. Palmeri had attended Wakefield, but Sughrue was unsure whether he is still a student. It was not immediately clear if Sambrick is a student.

Young's mother, Dr. Rosemarie Newman, said her son was a "gracious, polite, sweet kid" with whom she had a very close relationship. He enjoyed soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling and was academic all-conference for all three sports she said. He also taught himself to play the guitar. He is survived by his mother, stepfather and three brothers.

Several friends and parents with whom WRAL spoke said the three teens had been at an unsupervised house party Saturday night.

Investigators said Palmeri had a blood-alcohol level of 0.06 percent but that speed was the primary factor in the accident. Palmeri had been driving at 72 mph at the time of the accident, they determined.

He faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, provisional driving while impaired and careless and reckless driving. Sughrue said police are investigating all circumstances surrounding the wreck.

Wakefield High students started gathering at the accident site Sunday morning. Some placed flowers as a memorial honoring Young. His death is the sixth of a Wakefield High School student because of a car accident in the past year.

Grief counselors will be on hand when students return to school on Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In March, Baker Wood, 18; Anthony Bostic, 17; Steven George, 18; and Timothy Steinberg, 18, were returning from a championship high-school basketball game in Greenville when, according to police, Wood hit a concrete barrier on the Poole Road exit coming off of the new U.S. Highway 64 bypass. The vehicle skidded for more than 400 feet before flying over the 3-foot wall and crashing nearly 60 feet to the ground.

Wood was driving at more than 100 mph, police said. A medical examiner's report showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21 percent -- more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent for adult drivers.

In April, Ashley Riggsbee, 18, was driving on Falls of Neuse Road when she lost control of her car and hit a tree. Speed was a factor in the crash, investigators said.

"Another Wakefield student has died in a car crash," said Len Anthony on Sunday. His daughter's boyfriend was Young's best friend he said.

"What is wrong with the culture and the atmosphere in this area where teenagers continue to die in car wrecks?"

"It's time for parents to take responsibility for knowing where their children are and what they're doing," Anthony said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • gnicks Jan 19, 2007

    I have a relative in Raleigh, North Carolina, who has shared with me the tragic stories of alcohol related deaths involving students at Wakefield High School. It appears that the frequency of occurrence would cause parents and community leaders to get more involved in a plan of action to address this alarming problem. The community as a whole should be outraged that we are losing our future leaders in alcohol related accidents. It is true that most know better than to drink and drive, however the message does not appear to be getting through to some young people. This message, "Do Not Drink and Drive" needs to be resurrected and if necessary, visible all around the city and campus of Wakefield High School. It is time for action.

  • smobley919 Jan 18, 2007

    I would just like to say that I am an Alumni Student of WHS. And I knew Sadiki fairly well and he was a great guy. You can't set a certain blame on anyone for this accident, thats why its called an ACCIDENT. It wasnt meant to happen. But things in life happen, and do for a reason. I feel for his family & pray that god may be with them all in their hearts. I have been keeping up with the reports as well as reading the comments and needless to say there is no reason for all these ruthless comments & pointing at others for the blame. Some people have no heart at all. Grow up!!! Its so childish & rediculous! If anyone is to blame here its Chris! Chris deserves EVERYTHING hes got coming to him. I hate to say it like that, but I never liked him anyways! I knew all the students involved, but HE KNEW better, as well as Frankie!
    Yes I agree that we should have parental guide-ance,
    AS MINORS. But I will continue to pray for the students,friends and the family.

  • statefan12 Jan 16, 2007

    As a student at Wakefield and close friend of Sadiki's, I'd just like to say that I am completely appaled by some of the comments that I have read. The accident was less than three days ago and you are already pointing fingers and spreading blame. This is a time for mourning and greif for all who knew Sadiki and yet all that I see are negative and accusatory comments. No one but the Wakefield students can understand the pain and suffering that we go through when losing friend after friend to these horrific accidents. Please let Sadiki's friends and family mourn without being bombarded by these heartless and insensitive remarks.

  • jenhay1987 Jan 15, 2007

    As a Wakefield alumi, I can't believe it's happened again! I have given my number out to plenty of people and I'd rather pay for your taxi ride home or even at my place then to hear about another students death off of drinking and driving. It is a huge dissapointment.

  • kindanutsboutswim Jan 15, 2007

    im sorry maybe its just me but i am seeing a pattern here... Almost all of these wrecks involving WakefieldStudents...drinking... period.. Parents need to watch what there children are doing. Guys.. It will happen to you... Wakefields principal, you need to bombard these kids with people that have been through accidents involving drinking. I pray for these students and their families. What a sad situation...

  • LibertarianTechie Jan 15, 2007

    Where was this party they went to? The host/hostess should be charged with manslaughter and allowing underage drinking.

  • BOHICA Jan 15, 2007

    Instead of making excuses for bad choices why don't we let the person at fault be responsible for their own actions? This is a tragedy and all families involved should be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. However, taking responsibility and being held responsible for our actions are how we learn from our mistakes.

  • blondi2756 Jan 15, 2007

    I am appalled by all of the negative comments being left about this story. This is a time of grief for so many people, and to use it as an opportunity to criticize and condemn all those who were affected not only takes advantage of their vulnerability, but speaks to your insensitivity and heartlessness as well. We can all sit here and spread blame around, but what good will that do? Will it bring Sadiki back? Will it erase the criminal charges against Chris? Will it end the hurt and suffering of all those who are devestated by this loss? No. This was a tragedy. Now is a time for mourning and for discovering ways to rebuild the lives that were destroyed by this accident. There is a time and a place for the discussion of blame, but this is certainly not it.

  • bill52674 Jan 15, 2007

    In response to kvkksea...no, the driver was not drunk. But he was drinking. The last time I checked the "legal" age is 21. Yes, we all drank when we were teenagers. But I also knew that it was wrong to do so I never left where I was drinking until the next day. Maybe if he wasn't drinking he wouldn't have been doing 72 mph...

  • OhYea Jan 15, 2007

    This is awful for the parents and friends of all these kids. I think it is impossilbe to imagine being in the shoes of someone who has killed a good friend. What all these kids need right now is an outpouring of love.

    We all know this situation is nothing new. I vividly remember this as a teenager in the 60's. We killed a number of our own then. Our children killed a number of their own. It's a part of who we all are.

    We live, we die and should always have the love of God in our hearts.