A tragic loss. Chase Stokes paid tribute to his Outer Banks stand-in, Alexander “AJ” Jennings, after he was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, July 5.
“Still trying to process why certain things happen, and why the world works in the ways that it does,” Stokes, 29, wrote via Instagram Stories on Wednesday, July 6. “My heart is shattered. Your life was just starting. 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.”
The Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets actor continued, “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.”
According to a Kimmie Stewart Casting Agency Facebook post, Jennings’ mother informed her son’s employer of his death. “Outer Banks crew & cast suffered a terrible loss when AJ was stuck by two cars, that fled the scene early this morning. AJ was a beautiful, kind soul & a bright light every day on set. He moved to Charleston from New York to work as our John B photo double/stand in this season,” the post read.
The casting agency’s statement continued, “I cannot fathom the shock and tragedy of AJ’s sudden loss and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time. I understand this message may be difficult to process for those of you that met & became fast friends with AJ. Netflix HR has grief counseling available, please reach out to me by email or text and I can get you the information. I am still at a loss of words how this happened & cannot imagine the pain his family is going through. We will miss this amazing human & his infectious smile dearly.”
According to ABC News 4, the second vehicle that struck Jennings was identified during a traffic stop by Charleston Police while the first has not yet been identified. No charges have yet been filed.
The third season of Outer Banks is currently filming in Charleston and surrounding areas. Stokes has starred as John B since the first season, which premiered in April 2020. The Tell Me Your Secrets alum asked Charleston locals and visiting fans not to share spoilers for the show in March.
“I hate that I’m having to post this again but please, do not post spoilers of us working,” he wrote via his Instagram Story at the time. “This is an exhausting process, and we have a really exciting story to tell.”
The Maryland native added, “I know you’re all excited and anxious, but I promise, it will be worth the wait.”