‘Outer Banks’ cast member killed in James Island hit-and-run | Charleston Scene

When Alexander “AJ” Jennings was offered a job on the Netflix series “Outer Banks,” he was “over the moon,” his mother, LuJean Jennings, said.

The 22 year old from Grand Island, New York — a town between Buffalo and Niagara Falls — moved to acting to Charleston in May to pursue his career. On the set of the hit action-adventure teen series, which debuted in 2020 and is currently filming its third season, Jennings served as a double for the show’s lead male actor, Chase Stokes, who plays the charismatic John B.

Instantly, Jennings loved the Palmetto State, the mother said.

He told his mom he loved Charleston for its beautiful nature and weather — which fit his active and adventurous lifestyle far more than Buffalo, where the sun sets by 5 pm in the winter.

“Once he got there, even after the first couple of days on set, he said it was the happiest period of his life,” LuJean Jennings said. “And, therefore, I was excited for him. I mean this is what you want for your child.”

Alexander “AJ” Jennings stood in as a double for the male lead in season 3 of “Outer Banks.” LuJean Jennings/Provided

But tragedy struck early July 5. As the actor was walking on Sol Legare Road near Crozet Drive on James Island, he was struck by two different vehicles, authorities say. He later died at Medical University of South Carolina.

Both vehicles fled after the collisions. One vehicle was later located in downtown Charleston, but authorities continued to search July 6 for the second one, Charleston County sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Knapp said.

No arrests have been in the case, Knapp said, and no description of the second vehicle was available.

LuJean Jennings told The Post and Courier that her last called her shortly after midnight telling her that he had been separated from his friends at a Fourth of July party and was unable to reach an Uber driver to take him home.

LuJean Jennings said she called several local cab companies to pick her last up outside the Harris Teeter on Trolly Road, where he said he was located, but her calls went straight to recordings.

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At 1:30 am, the mother and son spoke again. He had good news: an Uber driver was scheduled to pick him up in 24 minutes. His phone battery had drained to 1 percent, however. LuJean Jennings told her last to remain patient.

The mother said she called her son to check in 30 minutes later but her call went straight to his voicemail. After waiting up a while longer in her New York home, she decided to sleep for a few hours and give her last a wake-up call at 6:30 am — his call time for ‘Outer Banks’ was 7:30 am, he had told her

That call also went straight to voicemail.

She said she was not panicking yet, “but within a couple of minutes after me making that call … [a] state trooper was banging at my front door.”

The officer delivered the terrible news: Her son had been hit and killed by a car.

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Outer Banks cast and crew members mourned Jennings’ death.

Jonas Pate, creator of “Outer Banks,” said he and the cast and crew are “heartbroken” by Jennings’ death.

“He was a vibrant and loved young man and we are saddened beyond words by this tragedy,” Pate said. “We extend our sincere condolences and love to the entire Jennings family.”

“We are all in complete shock right now,” casting director Kimmie Stewart said in a message to The Post and Courier, adding that Jennings was “one of the kindest humans I’ve ever known.”

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‘Most contagious laugh’

Born in Tver, Russia, Alexander was adopted in 2001 by LuJean, a cardiovascular surgeon in Buffalo and single mom. Alexander was LuJean’s third child and her “baby” — she had already adopted Katlyn from China in 1997, and Nick from New York in 1999.

“Alex was in the orphanage until he was 18-months,” she said. “He wasn’t an infant when he came. He had some trauma just from being in the orphanage for so long.”

The family of five overcame initial growing pains, however.

“Everyone was happy,” she said. “Alex eventually just had tons of friends.”

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He was a talented athlete in high school and was voted “most contagious laugh” by his graduating class at Grand Island High School in 2017, the mother said.

Alexander enrolled at Buffalo State College, where he was recruited to play football, but developed an interest in acting and modeling.

After playing two seasons for the Bengals, he took a leave of absence from college and went to Toronto to train with Vogue Models & Talents.

When he crossed the border back into America, Alexander began landing small acting parts in television shows and movies, including HBO’s “Succession,” Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” according to his IMDb profile .

In April, he was offered the job to stand in as a double for Stokes, the Outer Banks male lead.

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Stokes said in an Instagram post his “heart is shattered.”

“Still trying to process why certain things happen, and why the world works in the way that it does,” the actor said. “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.”

“We all love you, you touched all of our lives and made us all better people,” Stokes added.

Kalyn Oyer contributed to this report.

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