State Auditor Beth Wood charged with hit and run
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
North Carolina’s state auditor, Democrat Beth A. Wood, has been charged with hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident. She was also cited for unsafe movement, according to Wake County arrest records. Wood is scheduled to appear in Wake County Superior Court on Jan. 26.
The event occurred on Dec. 8 after 9 p.m. near the intersection of Salisbury and Hargett streets in downtown Raleigh.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman confirmed the news directly to CJ Wednesday evening.
Freeman confirmed Wood faces a Class 2 misdemeanor for hit and run, leaving the scene, and property damage, along with an infraction for unsafe movement.
“I will confirm that State Auditor Wood has a pending charge.” Freeman told CJ. “It will be handled in exactly the same manner way these sorts of charges typically are.”
CJ called Wood’s office Thursday. A spokesperson for Wood said they had no comment on the incident.
Wood was first elected to the position of auditor in 2008. A Democrat, she is the first woman to hold the office. Wood successfully challenged incumbent State Auditor Les Merritt in the 2008 election and was sworn-in the following January.
Wood was re-elected in November 2012 by more than 318,000 votes over Republican Debra Goldman. Wood was narrowly re-elected to a third term as state auditor in the 2016 general election over Republican Chuck Stuber by just 6,042 votes, a margin of 0.14%. She won another term in 2020, defeating Republican Anthony Street 50.88% to 49.22%
Elections for state auditor are generally close. Unlike the commissioner of agriculture with farmers and the commissioner of labor with employers and workers, the state auditor has no constituency they serve directly. She has angered members of both parties at times but is also popular with leaders in both parties, who see her as fair and honest. Carolina Journal reached several top Republicans who declined comment and expressed concern for Wood.
According to its website, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) performs an array of work, including financial-statement audits, financial-related audits, performance audits, information-technology audits, and investigative reports. The state auditor examines all facets of state government — including education, health, transportation, computer systems, regulatory processes, and public safety. The office works to improve the efficiency of state government and helps the state retain its coveted AAA bond rating.