Local News

Wakefield High Grieves as Student Prepares to Face Charges

Posted January 15, 2007
Updated June 19, 2014

— A teenager who was driving the car in which a Wakefield High School senior died is due in court Tuesday to face charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving while impaired.

Police allege that Christopher Palmeri, 18, had been drinking and was speeding when he lost control of the car Sunday morning. The crash on Wakefield Plantation Drive killed Sadiki Young, 18, a soccer player at Wakefield.

The incident put the Wake County high school in a too-familiar position of students and faculty having to deal with the highway death of one of their own. It is the third time—and the sixth death—in less than a year.

In March, four Wakefield High School students died in a high-speed wreck involving alcohol. In April, another Wakefield teen lost control of her speeding car.

Philip Palmeri, Christopher’s father, said Tuesday that his family is devastated by the crash and the fact that his son was behind the wheel, but he is even more distressed by the loss of Sadiki Young.

Likewise, Diane Sambrick, whose son was a backseat passenger and escaped the rollover crash unhurt, said she is aware her son could have easily have been in the shoes of the other two boys.

The accident put the high school community in shock.

“As soon as I found out, I couldn't cry, I couldn't talk,” said Christine Hill, a friend of Young. “He was one of the kids in the school and around the neighborhood that was what other kids should look up to.”

Kaitlyn Ihley, another friend, said Young “just had a bright personality. He could always make you laugh. He was a great guy. He was really passionate about everything he did.”

At the school, grief counselors are preparing to help students when they return Tuesday from the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend. They and Principal Mark Savage met Monday with Young's soccer teammates.

Young, Savage said, was “very creative, very thoughtful, very insightful. Teachers loved him. Coaches loved him. He was just a great kid.”


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  • ladisnowflake Jan 16, 2007

    What a retched thing to say. How can you judge a person that you don’t even know? Have you no conscious? Sadiki Young was someone who cared, who listened, and who was passionate about life and friends. He was someone who just emitted what God’s love does for a person in their life. He was not driving the car. Instead of condescending the actions of someone who you have never met maybe everyone should just look at their own lives and reflect on how they can take Sadiki’s method of living and apply it to their own .. because he was one of a kind.

  • Hevans1012 Jan 16, 2007

    This is sad, how much more can one school take? My son goes to WHS and soon to be daughter. I have told them several times I don't care if you are so drunk that you can barley walk (not that I condone it) but please call me to come get you, even if it's 2 am. Do not get into a car with someone who has been drinking and don't even think about driving! I don't care if it's just 2 beers or whatever. You never know what can happen. My prayers are with the family and WHS students that knew him.

  • roxiebabe203 Jan 16, 2007

    Look i dont know who the heck you people think you are trying to judge the people at our school and sadiki. we are good people we just make stupid mistakes. Im sure youve made many and im sure you still are. ONE mistake you just made was posting comments about our friend. YOu have NO right judging who he is or who he was. We dont take the time outa our day to question who or what your doing with your life soo sit down and mind your own busneess. were not in a good state. and your just making it worse. Rip sadiki we love you and miss you more than ever.

  • deerslayer Jan 16, 2007

    Do the math kids..drinking + driving + stupidity = death

  • narck9 Jan 16, 2007

    When are these kids gonna learn? You would think they would after six die in one year.

  • superman Jan 16, 2007

    Such a nice wonderful kid-- out at 2:00 in the morning, drinking, driving and speeding and killed someone while he was on his cell phone. He doesnt sound so perfect to me-- people just didnt know him

  • strickland5894 Jan 15, 2007