RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Documents released by the State Auditor’s Office show Auditor Beth Wood (D) drove another state-issued car for weeks after Raleigh police charged her in connection with a hit-and-run crash involving another state-issued vehicle.
The crash happened the night of Dec. 8 when police say Wood drove her car onto the hood of a parked car on South Salisbury Street and left the scene with her car still running.
The auditor’s office released travel logs that show the auditor received another car Dec. 12, the same day court documents show that police charged her with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Several weeks after that, Wood received a letter from the state’s motor fleet management director informing her that her assignment of her original car that was involved in the crash was “temporarily terminated.” Robert Riddle went on to write, “Furthermore, you are discouraged from driving any other state-owned vehicle during this investigative period.”
The logs indicate the state-issued car was still used after that letter was sent.
The letter, dated Jan. 24, was written the same day a man who recorded cell phone video of the incident re-posted it on social media. The video appears to show Wood soon after the crash being ushered into former state Attorney General Rufus Edmisten’s law office where a party was being held that night.
Wood apologized last month in a written statement, calling her decision that night “a serious mistake.” She has not responded to questions seeking additional details about what happened the night of the crash and in the days following it.
A spokesperson for her did not respond to a request for comment Thursday regarding the newly released travel logs and letter.
Late last month, the Department of Administration told reporters that Wood had not been assigned another vehicle since April 2021.
In response to questions about the travel logs, a spokesperson for the Department of Administration told CBS 17 in an email that Wood still has not been assigned another car but that the Office of State Auditor has five vehicles assigned to it.
“The (Office of State Auditor) determines staff use of those vehicles and maintains logs documenting who drives those vehicles,” wrote Aldesha Gore, assistant communications director for the NC Dept. of Administration.
The travel logs indicate Wood used the car to travel to work, to her home, to doctor’s appointments, to speaking engagements and other locations. One page of the log, covering the period between Dec. 26 and Jan. 5, specifically lists her as the person responsible for the state-issued vehicle.
The Dept. of Administration said the towing and repair costs for the car involved in the crash totaled about $7,700, and that there was no record of the auditor having been involved in any other crashes involving state-issued vehicles.
The state Republican Party has called on her to resign, but no elected officials in either party have called on her to do that.
When Gov. Roy Cooper (D) was asked about the matter this week, he said, “This case is still under investigation, still has a court date. And, we’ll let that play out.”
Senate leader Phil Berger (R) also mentioned the fact that the case is still pending in court but added there are “troubling aspects” of the case.
“I think it’s incumbent upon the Democrats to tell us where they are on whether she should stay,” he said. “A lot of people are very concerned about what happened back in December but maybe even more concerned about how it’s being handled at this time by the auditor and by the governor, quite frankly.”
Wood’s next court date is March 23.