Local News

Wakefield High Grieves as Student Prepares to Face Charges

Posted January 15, 2007 5:53 p.m. EST
Updated June 19, 2014 5:46 p.m. EDT

— 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.”