RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood has been indicted on a misdemeanor charge of misusing a state vehicle that she took to hair and dental appointments outside of her official duties, according to a news release Tuesday by a prosecutor in the state capital.
A Craven County native, Wood is a certified public accountant who worked in the State Auditor’s Office for nearly 10 years before she defeated incumbent Auditor Les Merritt in the 2008 election.
The release issued by Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said a grand jury returned the indictment accusing Wood of private use of a public vehicle. The indictment followed an eight-month investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Wood, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a separate misdemeanor related to a crash involving her state vehicle, had announced last week that she won’t seek reelection in 2024 after more than a decade in the post.
Emails sent to Wood’s office and to her spokespeople late Tuesday seeking comment on the indictment weren’t immediately returned.
But in a statement issued to WRAL-TV on Tuesday, Wood said she reimbursed the state to cover personal use of the car.
“I purposely overpaid for my commuting miles to make certain it covered any personal use over and above commuting,” she said.
The indictment alleges that in 2021 and 2022, Wood used an assigned state-owned vehicle for “hair appointments and dental appointments out of town, traveling to shopping centers and spa locations where she was not engaged in business in her official capacity.”
Wood, a Democrat who was first elected as auditor in 2008, pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a December 2022 crash in which she drove her state-owned vehicle into a parked car. A judge sentenced her to pay fines and court costs.
No one was hurt in the accident, which occurred after Wood left a holiday party in downtown Raleigh. Wood previously apologized for the accident and her conduct, saying she had made a “grave mistake.”