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home : archive : archive August 3, 2021

7/15/2021 1:04:00 PM
Four people charged after alcohol-related vehicle collision
Two passengers died, driver and another passenger injured in June 25 collision

OAK RIDGE - Driver Jacob Stevens and a mother and son have been criminally charged after two 19-year-olds died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident last month. A minor also faces charges.

The N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Division announced the charges last week following the traffic accident on Williard Road in Oak Ridge just before 7 p.m. June 25. Jeffrey "Jeff" Robert Jones died at the scene and Zachary "Zach" Porter Williamson died a day later in the hospital.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol responded to the single-vehicle accident and later contacted ALE due to the suspected involvement of alcoholic beverages in the wreck, ALE said in a news release July 7.

Stevens, 18, and the third passenger, 19-year-old Tavis Williamson, were injured in the crash.

ALE said its special agents determined that Stevens and the passengers in his pickup truck were all underage and used fake IDs to purchase alcoholic beverages at an ABC-licensed restaurant in Oak Ridge. Earlier that day, the four teens had consumed alcohol at a house party on Leadenhall Road in Oak Ridge.

The homeowner, Lauren Penizotto, was present during the party and her son, Nathaniel Penizotto, 21, purchased alcohol for the party, according to ALE. A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of "numerous bottles of spirituous liquor and trash bags of empty beer cans," the agency said.

As a result of the investigation, Penizotto and her son, Stevens and an unidentified minor were charged. These are the specific charges:

Lauren Penizotto, 51, was charged with three counts of aid and abet an underage person and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Nathaniel Penizotto, 21, was charged with three counts of aid and abet an underage person, one count of give spirituous liquor to a person under the age of 21, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Stevens, 18, was charged with possession of a fraudulent identification and underage possession of alcoholic beverages.

ALE said a juvenile petition was submitted for two counts of aid and abet another underage person, and two counts of give alcoholic beverage to an underage person.

Stevens already faces numerous charges by the State Highway Patrol which include two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count of felony serious injury by motor vehicle.

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