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Trooper: Alcohol in car of Raleigh teen found dead day after crash

Posted March 20
Updated 10:51 a.m. Wednesday

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— A Leesville Road High School student who was found dead early Sunday, a day after she was involved in a crash, had alcohol in her car, authorities said Monday.

Lauren Maria Jenkins, 17, was reported missing after she was involved in a collision late Friday at the intersection of Leesville and Oneal roads.

Trooper D. Gray said Jenkins failed to yield as she attempted to make a left turn and pulled in front of a car driven by Carly Brown. Gray said Brown told him Jenkins appeared to be injured as she and another girl in her car walked and then ran off after the crash.

Brown and a boy who was in the back seat of Jenkins' car were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

A woman who called 911 to report the crash told the dispatcher that her husband went outside to check after hearing the impact and saw "a woman running down the road hysterical." The husband wasn't available to provide a description of the woman to 911.

Gray declined to say what kind of alcohol was in the car – it's still unclear whether alcohol played a role in the crash – but he said Jenkins faced at least a hit-and-run charge, so he went looking for her. He said he searched for her and the other girl for about 45 minutes and even went to Jenkins' home on Sawyer Drive, where no one came to the front door.

He returned to the area Saturday morning, where he found Wake County deputies searching for Jenkins, he said.

Jenkins' mother apparently had received a text message with a photo of the family's damaged car and called the Wake County Sheriff's Office for assistance, Gray said, adding that he joined in the search.

The other girl who left the crash scene was found Saturday and treated for minor injuries.

On Sunday morning, a member of the K-9 unit picked up Jenkins' scent, and authorities found her body in a wooded area near Wood Lawn Drive in the Springdale Estates neighborhood – about three blocks from the crash scene and less than a mile from her home.

Her body was taken the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

Jenkins' driving was a concern to her neighbors in the Springdale Estates subdivision to the point that she was the topic of conversation on a neighborhood social network earlier this month. A man with the same name as her stepfather apologized for her driving etiquette and behavior, saying "we hope that this issue can be resolved for everyone affected."

"We would like to thank all of those who reached out to help search for our daughter, to those who shared our daughter's photo on social media and to all of those who put their lives on hold to help resolve this nightmare," Jenkins' family said in a statement. "Out of respect for our family, we ask that you give us the privacy and time needed to mourn this enormous loss. We know there are unanswered questions, and in time, they will be resolved. In the meantime, please continue to keep Lauren, her family and her friends in your thoughts and prayers."

16 Comments

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  • Brandon Scicluna Mar 21, 8:08 p.m.
    user avatar

    Is this story really necessary? You don't even know whether or not it played a role in the crash yet you go ahead and headline this slander just to gain viewers? You reported her missing, then reported her passing. Why is it necessary to continue reporting this? Can you not find another story to headline? You have to keep up with the "hot" story by slandering this poor girl? You people are straight VULTURES.

    Also, why is it that despite the family asking for privacy and respect, I'm seeing a thumbnail of her brother crying after learning what happened? That is not giving them privacy. You people are incredibly disrespectful and I have zero idea how you sleep at night. They ask for privacy and you post a family member breaking down? For what? To dramatize it as much as possible to gain the largest amount of viewers that you can? Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Again you are VULTURES. You should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves.

  • Sara Hauser Mar 21, 12:24 p.m.
    user avatar

    Very sad that whatever took place led to this young girl dying alone and exposed to the elements. We won't really know what happened until ME's report is out. Compassion for those who loved her is really important right now .

  • Ben Hill Mar 21, 10:13 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    You're right, bad teen behavior is as old as time, but when I was a teen parents didn't make excuses for our poor behavior. It taught us that all actions have consequences that have to be dealt with, for better or for worse. you ask what if this were my daughter- I'd be devastated, but not blaming others for her choice to flee or my failure to have taught her to obey laws.

    John Archer- how would you feel if this girl had injured or killed your child in this accident? Who would you be blaming then?

  • John Archer Mar 21, 9:20 a.m.
    user avatar

    The officers that responded to the accident knew the driver had been injured, then fled. Regardless of the reason for leaving the scene, I would hope they would have looked until they found her. A head injury can cause erratic behavior. No one knows WHY she ran, and we never will. But to just give up the search is pretty negligent, in my opinion. What if it were your kid? Wouldn't you want them to make more of an effort to find them, knowing they were injured? Is the fact that alcohol was found in the car enough to just shrug and say, oh well? Maybe this is why our kids act out so much, we have too many conditions on our love for them. Teens are hard. Teens make bad decisions. They talk back, they do the opposite of what people expect of them. These things are as old as time. We did that, too. So why do adults keep expecting teens to be more mature than they're capable of? The community, not just parents, needs to change.

  • Bridget Ryan Mar 21, 8:15 a.m.
    user avatar

    The article said the officer went to the dead girls home
    Looking for her after she fled . Why would the family
    Leave town and leave her a car with her known issues ?
    Not sure why anyone would expect law enforcement
    To search all night .

  • David Craft Mar 21, 8:04 a.m.
    user avatar

    My deepest sympathy and condolences ot the family. I am also sorry the media has seen fit to publisize such a disheartening story while th family is greiving....

  • Ben Hill Mar 21, 7:43 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    And the teen made this about avoiding the consequences of her actions. She made her choice, tragic as it was. Sadly, she was successful in her attempt to avoid being found by authorities until it was too late. Had she not fled, she would have received medical treatment and could possibly still be alive. How is this the fault of law enforcement?

  • Pam Snyder Mar 21, 7:34 a.m.
    user avatar

    Many things here bother me.....of course she's gone...prayers o the family......2nd I think you were right the dwi was better than her fleeing which caused her death...maybe some teens will take this to heart.....3rd i think the police should have looked for her the 1st pm....4th if she was the talk of the neighborhood....y child would have had NO CAR til I felt she was responsible enough for it again.....tragic all the way around. I don't feel any one person is to blame there are many in this story.

  • Pam Snyder Mar 21, 7:34 a.m.
    user avatar

    Many things here bother me.....of course she's gone...prayers o the family......2nd I think you were right the dwi was better than her fleeing which caused her death...maybe some teens will take this to heart.....3rd i think the police should have looked for her the 1st pm....4th if she was the talk of the neighborhood....y child would have had NO CAR til I felt she was responsible enough for it again.....tragic all the way around. I don't feel any one person is to blame there are many in this story.

  • Todd Schray Mar 21, 7:29 a.m.
    user avatar

    The girl was injured and should have been found for medical reasons as a priority, then been made to face the consequences of her actions. The authorities seemed to make this about charges instead of a clear medical emergency.

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