Local News

Teen Pleads Guilty in Connection With Wakefield Student's Death

Posted August 16, 2007
Updated May 26, 2009

— A Raleigh teenager pleaded guilty Thursday to hindering police in their investigation in the hours after an alcohol-related crash that killed a Wakefield High School student.

Dylan Neal Caldwell, 17, of 6604 Professor Court, was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and must complete 75 hours of community service and pay a $250 fine and court costs.

Police charged Caldwell with one count of restrict, delay and obstruct in connection with the Jan. 13 death of Sadiki Young, 18, who died when the car in which he was riding with two other people went off a road and tumbled down an embankment.

The car's driver, Christopher John Palmeri, 18, of High Holly Lane, pleaded guilty last week to involuntary manslaughter and drunken-driving. He was sentenced to 16 to 20 months in prison, with all but five months suspended.

Caldwell was not in the car, but picked up the third occupant, Frank Joseph Sambrick, 18, close to the scene and dropped him off at a party they had attended earlier that night.

Caldwell said on Thursday that he then went to the scene after realizing how bad the accident was.

He pleaded guilty to telling officers that he had never been at the scene. Prosecutors contended that he did not tell investigators for more than three hours that Sambrick had been in the car with Palmeri and Young, and that delayed their ability to investigate the case.

Caldwell also said he never called 911 because he heard Palmeri calling. His mother, Cathy Caldwell, said that her son never rendered help because Young was already dead.

Officers also cited Caldwell for having no operator's license, but prosecutors dropped that charge as part of a plea agreement.

Palmeri was also placed on five years' probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service after he serves his time.

Police also charged several other students with misdemeanor crimes in the case.

Young's death was the sixth death of a Wakefield High student in a year because of a car accident.

45 Comments

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  • Professor May 26, 4:16 p.m.

    Being "Cool" always carries a high price.

    Not a true comment. a person can act any way they want in America. Crime is slowly taking over. If people really wanted too, crime can be stopped. Teach your children before its too late.

  • Professor May 26, 4:14 p.m.

    Teens make mistakes... we all do

    Really, what a cop-out of an excuse. If parents would train up their child in the way he/she should go, then they will not depart from the training when they are older. The scripture is in the bible. There are many parents that are simply not being a parent to their children. Children need guidelines and discipline. They don't need to be in the streets at all time of the night. They should be home and they will not get in crime trouble. Wake up parents and do your job. It could be your child next. It not to late to tighten up the rules. No rules, then make some.

  • carolina blue sky May 26, 12:09 p.m.

    Did you all see in the same news section that Palmeri was arrested again on other charges???

  • roadtrash Aug 17, 11:44 a.m.

    William Tell
    Nice to see you think the police were just "grasping at anything". Actually, RPD had a responsibility to investigate the totality of events, which included the role Caldwell played in this. Legally, he had an obligation to remain at the scene and cooperate with the police. Furthermore, a clear message needed to be sent to others his age that underage drinking and driving will not be tolerated (whether you are the driver, passenger, etc...) On issues such as this, I'm willing to keep grasping at anything if it prevents a similar incident.

  • yruatwit Aug 16, 9:38 p.m.

    Being "Cool" always carries a high price.

  • lovecarolinagutters Aug 16, 6:53 p.m.

    tgw...Ditto.

  • moose13 Aug 16, 5:02 p.m.

    I agree, I think the "kids" got scared! I know at that age I would have totally FREAKED OUT seeing my friend lying there dead!! I would have ran, and then after calming down, if I did, I would have called the cops...but then again, I can't even say that...none of us can unless we were there in their shoes! Be smart people- these kids had to have been scared, have a little sympathy, yes it seems heartless, but we dont know we werent there...I know I want to jump to conclusions with working in the ER and seeing some of the stuff I see as well-I pray for all involved.

  • tgw Aug 16, 3:49 p.m.

    Teens make mistakes... we all do. And panic!!! You bet these kids paniced. A young friend was dead. The sentences seem ok to me for a guilty plea. Now, let's quit throwing stones and pray for these kids--- and all kids to think twice before they do something stupid.
    I've watched a family who's son was in an accident where his best friend was killed. I saw the pain in all envolved. We all hurt for these families. Instead of throwing stones and inflicting more pain, offer help.. positive reinforcement goes much farther than just critisizing all the time.

  • skinnycow Aug 16, 3:39 p.m.

    @Oneday8035

    I really truly dont mind correction. Sometimes, it is just the way some folks do it. Some of the people here act as if we are re-writing the next constitution or radifying an amendment. We are not posting laws or drafting legal briefs. We are posting opinions, thoughts, ideas in forum. No need to be technical. Each comment I post will have either a grammatical error, typo or misspelling. That is a guarantee. And I am ok with that. And for those who feel a need to read a perfect text will truly be disappointed by my unpublished and unedited thoughts. Sorry. LOL..I am at work. I want to make sure someone understands the gist of what I am saying. That is good enough for me.

    ** All of the kids actions are questionable. I know they were scared..but, to me, that is not a good enough justification for their actions. And that is only my not so humble opinion.

  • Slip Kid Aug 16, 3:29 p.m.

    SRSD - you said a lot. Too many parents are neglecting to teach their kids right & wrong, respect for authority and how to take responsibility for their own actions. Every adult who plays the blame game for the stupid things that go on around the world are reinforcing the concept of "it's not your fault unless someone else can prove it". I just hope these probations are enforced and the community service time is actually served.

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