CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A California boy is recovering from head injuries after the car his family was driving in was hit by an alleged drunk driver who has been deported over a dozen times, officials said.
Lennox, 6, was with his mom and dad coming home from Disneyland before the accident Saturday evening.
His parents had just bought him a milkshake at an In-N-Out Burger in San Ysidro, Calif., and were a block from their home when a vehicle collided with their car.
According to his uncle on a GoFundMe page, Lennox was in the rear passenger seat when a truck “came flying around the corner, wheels squealing and slammed into them. They went through a guardrail and stopped facing the opposite direction.”
Border Patrol agents came upon the crash around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, found multiple victims and called local authorities.
An investigation determined the hit-and-run suspect was driving a Chevrolet pickup truck. Border Patrol agents found a damaged vehicle matching the description about a half-hour later.
San Diego police arrested the driver, who was suspected of driving under the influence and leaving a crash scene with injured people.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told KSWB that the driver, identified as Constantino Banda-Acosta, was a Mexican national who has been deported 15 times over the course of 15 years.
But those are just numbers to a man who only wants to see his son healthy again.
“It’s tough to know somewhere that the system is breaking down, but I’m really just trying to focus on Lennox coming home and making him happy. [I hope] justice does their job and things work out the right way,” the boy’s father Ben Lake said.
Lennox suffered serious head injuries and underwent surgery, according to his uncle. The boy’s parents suffered minor injuries.
“Right now, he has a lot of swelling and can’t open either of his eyes so he’s scared about why he can’t see,” Lake said. “I just really care about bringing him home and making sure he’s happy again.”
Agents arrested the passenger in the pickup, and transported him to a Border Patrol station and processed him for removal proceedings, officials said.
Banda pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges, including DUI, hit-and-run crash resulting in injuries and driving without a license. If he’s found guilty, Banda faces seven years in prison. Bail was set at $230,000.