Trooper: Alcohol in car of Raleigh teen found dead day after crash
Posted March 20
Updated March 22
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."