Local News

18-Year-Old Apex Man Charged In Fatal Car Accident

Posted April 17, 2006

— An Apex man died early Sunday morning from injuries he suffered in a car accident. His friend is charged in connection with the death.

The accident happened at about 2:15 a.m. Sunday on

Green Level Church Road near Jenks Road

in Apex.

Authorities said the Honda Civic, driven by Jake Lanier Wood, 18, of Apex, flipped several times.

"I heard a screeching noise and a couple thuds and a big crash," said Arthur Laford, who lives in a house near the accident scene.

The passenger, Andrew Hunter Leonard, 19, of Apex, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at WakeMed.

"The driver was obviously in shock, running around like a madman, saying, 'What do I do? What do I do? Help me, help me,'" Laford said.

Wood told WRAL Sunday morning that Leonard had been too drunk to drive and had called him for a ride home from a nearby house party. Wood said he stayed at the party for about an hour before leaving with his friend.

In the car, Wood said, Leonard grabbed the steering wheel; the car went out of control, veered off the road and flipped several times into someone's yard.

Troopers said Wood was wearing his seatbelt; Leonard was not.

State troopers are still investigating what role alcohol may have played in the accident. According to the arrest report, state troopers noticed Wood had a strong odor of alcohol on him. At the scene, his blood-alcohol level registered .09. A second test a few hours later, however, registered .06, which is under the legal limit of .08 for adults of drinking-age in North Carolina.

Wood, whose license had been revoked, was charged with felony death by motor vehicle. Wood is out of jail in his parents' custody. His first court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

Both Wood and Leonard graduated from Apex High School in 2005. Hunter was a student at Western Carolina University, Wood said. Wood was enrolled at Wake Tech Community College.

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