State suspends Auditor Wood’s vehicle assignment after crash

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North Carolina officials temporarily suspended the state auditor’s vehicle assignment this week after she was cited for a misdemeanor hit-and-run for leaving the scene of a December crash where she drove her state-issued vehicle into a parked car.

The state’s motor fleet management director notified State Auditor Beth Wood on Tuesday that her vehicle assignment for a 2021 Toyota Camry was temporarily on hold amid the ongoing investigation, Julia Hegele, a Department of Administration spokesperson, said in an email Friday. There is no indication of how long the suspension will last.

After the charges against her became public last week, Wood released an apology statement Monday, explaining that the collision occurred shortly after she left a holiday gathering in Raleigh on the evening of Dec. 8.

Calling the crash a “serious mistake,” Wood, 68, said she left the scene without informing police or the car’s owner when she was unable to move her vehicle. Photos and 911 calls reported on by other media outlets show that part of her car was on top of the parked vehicle. No one was injured in the crash.

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She was cited by Raleigh police four days later for the misdemeanor hit-and-run and another traffic-related charge. Towing and repairing Wood’s vehicle cost the state nearly $8,000, Hegele said.

An attorney appeared on her behalf Thursday in Wake County court. The judge set her next court date for March 23.

Someone without a previous criminal record would face no active jail time for a hit-and-run misdemeanor but could face probation. An unsafe movement count can be punishable by a fine. Wood said Monday that she was continuing to cooperate with law enforcement.

As one of 10 members of the North Carolina Council of State, a panel of elected executive officials, the state auditor performs financial reviews of state agencies, performance audits and other studies sought by the General Assembly.

Wood, a Democrat who was first elected to her position in 2008, said she would continue at her job despite the state GOP’s call for her resignation. Her position will next appear on the ballot in 2024.

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