Local News

Wakefield High Grieves Loss of 6th Student in a Year

Posted January 15, 2007 12:25 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2007 6:02 p.m. EST

— Grief counselors will be at Wakefield High School when students return Tuesday to a school that over the weekend lost its sixth student in a year to fatal car wrecks.

On the Monday holiday, students visited a makeshift memorial at the place where Sadiki Ayize Young, 18, of Lindley Drive, died Sunday when the car in which he was riding went off  Wakefield Plantation Drive near the intersection of Village Spring Road and tumbled down an embankment about 400 feet. Young was a musician and played on the Wakefield High soccer team, and grief counselors met with the team Monday..

Principal Mark Savage met with his staff Monday to prepare for how they will handle the news when students come back from the long weekend.

Young was the front-seat passenger in a 2001 Ford Escort  driven by Chistopher John Palmeri, 18, of High Holly Lane, Palmeri suffered minor injuries. Backseat passenger Frank Joseph Sambrick, 18, of Bur Trail was unhurt.

Palmeri  is charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunk driving. His blood alcohol was 0.06, police said. That is below the legal limit for adults, but a driver who is under 21 and has a provisional license may not have any alcohol in his blood while driving.

Investigators believe alcohol and speed played roles in the latest tragedy to hit the Wakefield High School community. The car was traveling about 70 mph when the crash happened, police said. Several friends and parents with whom WRAL spoke said the three teens had been at an unsupervised house party Saturday night.

Young was a senior at Wakefield, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. Palmeri had attended Wakefield, but Sughrue was unsure whether he is still a student. It was not immediately clear if Sambrick is a student.

Young's mother, Dr. Rosemarie Newman, said her son was a "gracious, polite, sweet kid" with whom she had a very close relationship. He enjoyed soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling and was academic all-conference for all three sports she said. He also taught himself to play the guitar. He is survived by his mother, stepfather and three brothers.

WRAL's Amanda Lamb spoke Monday with with Philip Palmeri, the driver's father, who said that while his family is devastated, nothing compare with the loss of Young.  He says his son will deal with whatever the justice system metes out.

In March 2006, Baker Wood, 18; Anthony Bostic, 17; Steven George, 18; and Timothy Steinberg, 18, were killed in a crash while returning from a championship high-school basketball game in Greenville. In April, Ashley Riggsbee, 18, was killed on Falls of Neuse Road when she lost control of her car and hit a tree.