Chase Stokes is mourning the loss of his Outer Banks stand-in Alexander "AJ" Jennings. Jennings, who stood in for the actor when directors and camera operators lit and blocked scenes before filming, was killed in a hit-and-run crash in North Charleston, South Carolina, where Season 3 of the hit Netflix original series is currently filming, on Tuesday, July 5. He was 22.
After news of his death broke, Stokes took to his Instagram Story early Wednesday morning to pay tribute to Jennings and express his grief. The actor, who stars as John B. Routledge, told his followers that he was "shattered" over Jennings' death, writing that he was "still trying to process why certain things happen, and why the world works in the ways that it does. My heart is shattered." In a message directed at Jennings, the actor wrote, "your life was just starting." Stokes went on to recall talking with Jennings about his songs and dream to continue creating art.
"We JUST talked about how pumped you were about your tunes, how far you'd come with that ole 6 string and your want to keep creating art. Always always making others hearts warm and being so damn selfless," he wrote, concluding the post by writing, "I wish I had more words to say right now, but the past day has been a struggle to say the least. We all love you, you touched all of our lives and made us all better people, and for that – Thank you AJ. Fly high angel."
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office confirmed in a press release that Jennings was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Tuesday morning. Per the release, deputies responded to an accident at Sol Legare Road near Crovet Drive at about 2:30 a.m. ET. Officials said a male pedestrian, later identified as Jennings, was walking on the road when he was struck by a vehicle that fled the area. The pedestrian was then hit by another vehicle, which also left the scene, a witness told deputies. The pedestrian was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina hospital, where he died. Following the incident, the Charleston County Coroner identified the victim as Jennings, with Kimmie Stewart Casting, which employed the 22-year-old actor, also confirming his death in a Facebook post remembering Jennings as "a beautiful, kind soul and a bright light every day on set."
At this time, charges have not been filed in connection to Jennings' death. Following the incident, the second vehicle involved in the hit-and-run was located during a traffic stop in downtown Charleston. The first vehicle has not been located. Charleston police continue to seek information connected to the case. Anyone with information can call the Charleston County Sheriff's office at 843-743-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.