Local News

Wakefield High Students Charged After Classmate Killed in Crash

Posted March 9, 2007
Updated August 16, 2007

— Five Wakefield High School students and an adult were charged Friday in connection with an alcohol-related crash that killed a Wakefield student two months ago.

Sadiki Young, 18, died Jan. 13 when the car in which he was riding went off Wakefield Plantation Drive and tumbled down an embankment.

The driver of the car, Christopher John Palmeri, 18, of High Holly Lane, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in connection with the wreck.

At the time of the accident, Palmeri's blood-alcohol content was .06, police said. Although that is below the legal limit for adults, Palmieri is underage and thus should not have had any alcohol in his system while driving, police said.

Police said the car was traveling about 70 mph when the accident happened. Students and parents told WRAL that Palmeri, Young and another student in the car had been at an unsupervised house party before the wreck.

The following people were charged Friday:

  • Sharra McNamara, 25, of 147 Newton Road, was charged with knowingly permitting someone to use her driver's license.
  • Dylan Caldwell, 17, of 6604 Professor Court, was charged with having no operator's license and with restrict, delay and obstruct (a legal charge for hindering police).
  • Lisa Conicelli, 17, of 6568 Wakefalls Drive in Wake Forest, was charged with underage possession of alcohol, aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol and restrict, delay and obstruct.
  • Dylan Richard, 18, 2015 Falls River Ave., was charged with underage purchase of alcohol and aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol.
  • Jordan Birden, 17, of 12339 Honeychurch St., was charged with underage purchase of alcohol and aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol.
  • Megan Clifford was charged with aiding and abetting underage purchase of alcohol, purchase of alcohol and using a fake identification.

Four students were arrested at Wakefield High Friday morning in front of other students and teachers, police said, and Clifford was arrested Friday afternoon.

Police said Conicelli hosted a party attended by several teens, including Palmeri and Young. When she learned of the fatal wreck, police said, she tried to clean up evidence of the party and then hid upstairs when officers knocked on her front door.

Conicelli's parents were out of town at the time and won't face charges in connection with the party, police said.

After the wreck, Caldwell picked up a third teen who was in Palmeri's car and drove off without calling 911, police said.

"It definitely disturbs me that they took these steps to try to conceal what they were doing. They knew it was wrong, but they still went ahead with their actions," said Jeff Lasater, spokesman for the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement.

Bill Young, Richard's lawyer, downplayed the charges, which are all misdemeanors.

"These are very minor charges related simply to kids giving kids beer, which unfortunately, right or wrong, if you believe it should happen or not, happens every day," Young said.

Young's death came 10 months after four other Wakefield High students were killed in an alcohol-related crash.

A car driven by 18-year-old Baker Wood plunged off the U.S. Highway 64 Bypass and burst into flames on March 4, 2006. Police said the car was going more than 100 mph when it crashed.

A medical examiner's report showed Wood and front-seat passenger Steven George were drunk. The other two passengers, Timothy Steinberg and Anthony Bostic, didn't have alcohol in their systems, according to toxicology reports.

The deaths have galvanized Wakefield High administrators and parents, who have held alcohol-education programs to raise awareness among students about the dangers of underage drinking and drinking and driving.

"We addressing these issues and giving teachers and students and parents a forum to discuss how we as a community can stop this type of activity, how we can band together," said Sandy Gasper, a member of the school PTSA's Character Education Committee.

"It's hitting home," Gasper said. "To see statistics and to hear about it is one thing, but to actually experience it and to know and have your classmates be involved, it's pretty powerful. I do think they stop to think, and that's what we're trying (to get them) to do."


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Whstime Mar 11, 2007


  • jetset Mar 10, 2007

    Wolfman..it is disappointing when you are let down by your friends. Try and forgive them and try to live a good life. It is sometimes hard to set your own path and not follow the crowd, but deep down you will be admired by your peers for standing up for what is right and eventually they will want to be like you.

  • Wolfman456 Mar 10, 2007

    I want to start by saying stop sterotyping my schoolmates. You don't know us.

    I know at least three of these kids and I have to say that I'm very disappointed in them. I couldn't believe it when I opened up the paper to the front page this morning and saw what they did. I also can't believe that last year one of those five kids told me they didn't drink. Reading about all this has really made me angry.

  • jetset Mar 10, 2007

    I guess I am just and "old fogey" but I (and my husband) do not drink any alcoholic beverages. We always tried our best to set a good example when our daughter was growing up. It is hard for me to understand why drinking alcoholic beverages is so important. People should try to live a good life and set a good example for others, especially younger impressionable children.

  • chargerschic19 Mar 10, 2007

    Bloke, feel free to comment, but don't make heartless and ignorant statements about people you know nothing about on a personal level.

  • blw6838 Mar 10, 2007

    hey bloke how many wakefield kids do you know. how much about wakefield do you know outside of this twisted headlines. go ahead and believe everything you read, if you notice- it changes from time to time. Once again, i am a wakefielder driving a car that is 15 years old and cant afford the new muffler to pass inspection right now. i am one of many who work for a lot fo what they get, and if we cant work for it our single parent blows half of their miniscule savings out of love and neccesity. Shut your mouth and crawl back in your hole.

  • Bloke Mar 10, 2007

    Poor kids, after they make bail they'll probably be grounded from Daddy's Range Rover all weekend. What a shame.

  • Tarheel born Mar 10, 2007

    mrcrosby,Excellent idea - blaming the victim! Let's start doing that for all crime victims and then we can do away with the police, the courts, the prosecutors, the prisons, parole and probation officers! Think about how much money we'll save. You are an absolute moron!

  • fanzalive Mar 10, 2007

    "trunkmonkee.....exactly how are these kids responsible for the death of their friend? nobody forced alcohol on Sadiki, nobody forced him to get in the car w/ Chris."

    Exactly the same way you are held accountable if you supply alcohol to a minor. They may be minors themselves but the fact they had the alcohol Sadiki consumed maked them accessories.

    " AND let's not forget that the cause of the accident was SPEED, not alcohol. Are you really paying attention to the facts here or just looking for a place to make outrageous comments?"

    Why YES I am paying attention to the facts. you are correct speed was a factor but think about the afffects of alchohol, they dull your senses therefore making you think you can handle a faster speed than you can. The speed is directly realted to the alchohol.

  • momof2kids Mar 10, 2007

    I for one am thrilled when I heard the teens were charged and arrested!! Especially the one that picked up the teen before calling for help. I think the parents of the teen who had the party should also be charged w/whatever will fit. Yes, the young man killed was guilty, and he's paying the ultimate price w/out parole or lawyers to postpone his trial. His buddies should also have to face the consequences! That's only fair! I NEVER drank and drove. I have a personality that doesn't require me to drink to have fun and be socialable. I'm 42...have many aquantances who are parents of teens who still can't have a social gathering w/out getting wasted! I don't go to those gaterhings. Teach by example parents!!!