Local News

Partying, Alcohol Believed To Be Factors In Fatal Weekend Accident

Posted Updated

APEX, N.C. — Wake County sheriff's investigators want to know more about a party where two young men may have been drinking before they got into a car and were involved in an accident that left one of them dead.

On Sunday, authorities charged Jake Wood, 18, of Apex, with felony death by motor vehicle after the car he was driving veered off of the Green Level Church Road in Apex and flipped in the air several times.

The passenger in the vehicle, Andrew Hunter Leonard, 19, of Apex was ejected from the vehicle and later died at WakeMed Hospital. Authorities do not think Leonard was wearing his seatbelt.

Wood told WRAL Sunday that he had gone to pick Leonard up at a party and that once he got there, he stayed for about an hour.

State Highway Patrol troopers said Wood had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash and that he was driving 55 mph in a 45 mph zone. According to authorities, Wood's blood-alcohol level registered .09 at the accident scene, and a second test a few hours later measured his blood-alcohol level at.06.

A spokeswoman for the Wake County Sheriff's Office said Sunday that deputies had been dispatched to a house on Green Level Road after a neighbor complained of a loud party. That was the same party the two men were leaving when the accident occurred.

Neither Wood nor his mother wanted to speak about what happened Monday after Wood appeared in court. His felony case was continued until May.

Both Wood and Leonard are 2005 graduates of Apex High School. Leonard was a lacrosse player and was enrolled at Western Carolina University.

"We'll be talking about this for years," said Apex High lacrosse coach John Hayden. "Hopefully, over the years someone will stop and think -- hit the pause button, before they get into a situation (like this)."

Hayden said the former team member would be missed.

"He was a great guy to have around. He would always keep things light," he said.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.