Two people face a September court date for illegally providing alcohol to a 19-year-old who is hospitalized in Pitt County with serious head injuries from crashing a vehicle, according to North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement.
ALE charged Robert Digges, 31, of Washington, with aiding and abetting the possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 by making a beer purchase for him. Jessica Alligood, 27, of Washington, was charged with aiding and abetting the consumption of alcohol by an underage person in her home.
On Monday, Aug. 3, Austin M. Rager, 19, of Washington, was driving a borrowed vehicle on State Road 1300 in Beaufort County. The vehicle ran off the right side of the road and crashed into a line of trees. The State Highway Patrol charged Rager with driving while intoxicated. Rager was taken to Vidant Medical Center.
ALE Special Agent Brian White investigated the source of Rager’s alcohol and found that on the afternoon of Aug. 3, Rager picked up Digges, his neighbor, and took him to the Handy Mart on River Road in Beaufort County to purchase alcoholic beverages for him. Rager took the alcohol to Alligood’s residence, which she shared with Rager. Alligood allowed Rager to drink the alcohol. He left that evening to get cigarettes and on way back to Alligood’s home, he drove left of the center line, crossed back to the right, ran off the road, hit a ditch and the vehicle rolled over.
“Responsible people do not encourage or allow teenagers to consume alcohol,” said Eric Swain, special agent in charge of the ALE district office in Greenville. “Unfortunately, the consequences are too often detrimentally life-changing, as in this case.”
ALE agents have the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and state lottery laws.