A Salisbury convenience store owner has been charged with selling alcohol to a 16-year-old who died hours later after a skateboarding crash.
On Tuesday, Alcohol Law Enforcement charged Hecham Abualeinan, the 58-year-old owner of the Z and H Mart on Mooresville Road, with two counts of selling a malt beverage to someone under age 21.
Authorities said the alcohol contributed to the skateboarding accident that killed Jonah King of Salisbury on June 11.
The Rowan County Sheriffs Office, working with ALE agents, reviewed surveillance video from the store and discovered footage of King buying an 18-pack of beer on June 9 and again on June 10. On both occasions, King wasnt asked to show his ID, authorities said.
Kings 18-year-old friend, Kevin Robinson of Salisbury, has also been charged in connection with the incident.
Around 1:30 a.m. June 11, Robinson called 911 and told a dispatcher King was hurt after falling from his skateboard. Robinson said he had been following in a truck behind King when he fell on Timberlane Trail in a neighborhood off Mooresville Road, according to the Sheriffs Office.
When authorities arrived, they found King in the middle of the road along with his long board skateboard.
Authorities said King had apparently lost his balance while skateboarding, struck the pavement and suffered a head injury. He was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, where the West Rowan High School student later died.
The Sheriffs Office said investigators are still working to determine exactly how the crash happened but that theyre investigating the possibility that the incident involved towing or skidding, in which skateboarders grab the sides of a vehicle while being towed up hills. Authorities said they learned that King and other young people often rode skateboards around the neighborhood, sometimes using towing.
Authorities said their investigation revealed that both Robinson and King had drank beer in the hours before the crash. The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Robinson with underage drinking and an open container violation.
When investigators learned that beer was involved, they worked to determine the source of the alcohol, according to the Sheriffs Office. Their investigation led them to the Z and H Mart.
Court records show Abualeinan was charged in 2009 with selling a tobacco product to a minor. He was issued a prayer for judgment in that case. In 2003, he was charged with allowing gambling in a public house and being a public nuisance. The gambling charge was dismissed, according to court records, and Abualeinan was given a prayer for judgment on the public nuisance charge.
The investigation into Kings death is ongoing. Staff researcher Maria David contributed.