Local News

Johnston County Hit-and-Run Suspect In Court, Placed In Parents' Custody

Posted July 18, 2002 8:03 a.m. EDT

— A 17-year-old was in court Wednesday to answer to felony hit-and-run charges in connection with a weekend accident that killed a woman and her 3-year-old son.

Bryan Carl Peterson did not speak to reporters after he was charged with two counts of felony hit-and-run in the weekend deaths of Nancy Carolina Garner Wood, 39, and her son, Robbie Ray Wood, 3, both of Zebulon. Peterson was released into his parents' custody.

John Fanney, Peterson's attorney, said his client did make a statement to investigators, but he would not disclose what the statement was.

"I'm not authorized by the family or Bryan to make any statement at this time," Fanney said. "I can tell you that the entire family and Bryan are extremely upset about the events."

Peterson's next court date will be Aug. 26, but officials said a grand jury may hear evidence in the case sooner.

Acting Tuesday afternoon on an anonymous tip, authorities took Peterson and another Middlesex teenager in for questioning at the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield about 6:30 p.m., said Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol.

The other teenager was not identified or charged. Authorities said five people, including Peterson, were inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, the patrol reported. Authorities said the other people will not be charged in the accident.

The fatal crash occurred at 2:40 a.m. on N.C. 39, about four miles from Zebulon. Wood and her son were struck by an oncoming vehicle as they walked home along the unlit, rural roadway, the patrol reported.

The vehicle left the scene, leaving behind fragments of the headlights, turn lights and parking lights - clues that allowed investigators to narrow the suspect vehicle to a Chrysler product.

State Highway Patrol investigators discovered the minivan off Swinson Farm Road in Knightdale. The blue-green 1995 Dodge matched fragments that were found on the roadway, authorities said. The minivan is being analyzed at the State Bureau of Investigation Lab in Raleigh, authorities said.

"To the person who turned this person in, whoever they are, thank you. May God bless you."

Wood had just left her daughter's home and was walking with her toddler son to her own residence a short distance away. Wood and the child were about 100 yards from her daughter's home when the incident occurred. Investigators said both victims were walking near the right side of the road or near the center line.

Peterson was taken to the Johnston County Magistrate's Office late Tuesday evening and released on an unsecured bond, a jail spokesman said.