Alcohol was found in the car driven by a teen who was involved in a crash on Friday and was later found dead in a wooded area, according to a State Highway Patrol trooper.
The body of Lauren Maria Jenkins, a 17-year-old senior at Leesville Road High School, was found Sunday by a pond in a wooded area off West Lake Court, close to the scene of the crash, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jenkins left the scene of the two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Leesville and Oneal roads in North Raleigh late Friday evening, Highway Patrol trooper D. Gray said Monday.
A 17-year-old girl who was in the front seat of Jenkins’ car sustained minor injuries and also left the scene, Gray said. A second passenger, a 19-year-old man who was in the back seat, sustained several broken ribs.
It’s unclear if alcohol was a factor in the crash.
The driver of the second vehicle involved in the wreck remained on the scene and was not injured, Gray said.
The Highway Patrol asked the sheriff’s office to help search the area where Jenkins went missing, sheriff’s spokesman John Jones said Sunday. A search dog picked up her scent by two ponds off Leesville Road around the same time that a neighbor found the body.
Jones did not say whether investigators suspect foul play. He said Jenkins’ body will be sent to the state medical examiner to determine the cause of death, and the investigation is ongoing.
Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for Wake County schools, said grief counselors would be available to talk to students at Leesville Road High.
Adeline Surface, who lives near the crash site, said she recognized Jenkins’ car in photos posted over the weekend on social media site Nextdoor. She said she had once seen the car traveling erratically through the Springdale Estates neighborhood.
“I thought, ‘I’ll definitely watch out for that red car,’ ” Surface said. “Then I recognized the totaled car (in photos). It’s just so crazy. I wish she could have been found.”
Kayla Ray, 19, said she met Jenkins about five years ago after a high school football game. She described her friend as adventurous, kind-hearted and loyal.
“There will never be another person to take Lauren’s place, she is completely irreplaceable,” Ray said. “Lauren was honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Everyone lit up when she walked in the room, her smile was so bright and beautiful.”
Charles Duncan: 919-829-4880, @duncanreporting