RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood released a statement about the night she hit a parked car and drove away from the scene.
"On the evening of Dec. 8, 2022, I attended a holiday gathering in downtown Raleigh. I was at the event for approximately two hours. When I left, I made a sharp right turn and inadvertently hit a parked car. I was shaken by the incident and, when I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene. That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision," part of her statement said.
Wood, a Democrat, said the next day she told State Motor Fleet Management that she was involved in an accident and was cited by police.
"I sincerely regret my actions and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. I made a mistake in judgment on Dec. 8," Wood said.
Wood's court appearance is Thursday in Wake District Court. 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.
"On the evening of December 8, 2022, I attended a holiday gathering in downtown Raleigh. I was at the event for approximately two hours. When I left, I made a sharp right turn and inadvertently hit a parked car. I was shaken by the incident and, when I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene. That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision.
The next morning, I notified State Motor Fleet Management that I was involved in an accident and subsequently was cited by police for unsafe movement and for failing to provide my name and other information to the owner of the car or a law enforcement officer.
I sincerely regret my actions and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. I have served the people of North Carolina as their State Auditor since 2009. I made a mistake in judgment on December 8, but I am committed to continuing to perform my duties with the same energy and determination I am known for.
I apologize to the owner of the car I hit, my staff and all I serve for leaving the scene of the accident. I have learned from this mistake and am fully accepting personal responsibility for my actions."
On Monday, ABC11 spoke with Chris Valverde, who owned the parked car which was damaged in the incident.
He said he reached out twice earlier this month to the Auditor's Office in an attempt to reach Wood; when she called him back, he described a brief conversation.
"I asked her directly 'why would you run from the scene like that?' And her only response was 'that's a question for my lawyer.' OK, but no apology or anything, and she still hasn't reached out to me directly for an apology, So just a public statement is I think is very shallow. It's a very shallow statement. There's no depth to it at all. She's trying to cover her tracks for her political gain I believe, " said Valverde.
Valverde said his daughter was using the vehicle that night to get to her job, and it was her co-workers who told her what happened. Valverde said his car won't be repaired until the spring, and while he has a rental car to use, his daughter is unable to use it since it's under his name.
"Now there's this added cost of an Uber or even the added cost of getting somebody else's time or ask for somebody else's time to pick her up and take her to work and pick her up and take her back home," Valverde said.
Valverde questioned the timeline presented by Wood in her statement, in which she wrote that she alerted State Fleet Management on Dec. 9; however, charges were not filed until Dec. 12. He described Monday's statement, released by a public relations firm more than six weeks after the initial incident, as "very shallow."
"Not only was it a hit-and-run but the lack of communication with me, lack of communication with people in North Carolina as well, that just shows - her silence speaks volumes of her character and how she handles tough situations. I can only imagine how she handles the duties and responsibilities of being the State Auditor," said Valverde.
In a Raleigh Police Department report obtained by ABC11, an officer wrote that the vehicle "...was left with the engine running" and "the driver of the vehicle appeared to have fled the scene at this time."
"What she did was wrong and she knows it," Valverde said.
Monday, the NCGOP called for Wood's resignation in a tweet; the North Carolina Democratic Party has not responded to a request for comment.
"I think it's fine that she has offered an apology, but a personal apology isn't enough when you have someone who is scrutinizing the conduct of other elected officials and holding them accountable for what she deems to be an erosion of credibility on their behalf, but now she has the same thing. SO it's a very difficult position for her to be in," said Irv Joyner, a law professor at NC Central University.
Wood, who has been in office since 2009, most recently won election in 2020 and is up for re-election in 2024.