A suspect in a DUI hit-and-run case in California that left a 6-year-old with serious head trauma has been revealed to have been deported from the U.S. at least 15 times.
A mother and father were driving home from Disneyland with their son, when they say a driver in a pickup truck turned a corner, smashed into their car, and sped off, according to CNN. The 6-year-old boy, Lennox Lake, was hospitalized with serious injuries to his head.
Constantino Banda-Acosta, the man who allegedly drove the pickup truck, has been charged with driving under the influence, hit-and-run and driving without a license. Banda-Acosta, who is in custody, is an immigrant from Mexico who is in the U.S. illegally.
The 38-year-old man "has been repatriated to Mexico at least 15 times since 2002, most recently in January 2017," ICE confirmed.
Lennox's mother, Ingrid Lake, found her son unconscious in his car seat after the crash, bleeding from his nose and ears, and not breathing, the Daily Mail reports. The boy was rushed to a local hospital, where he underwent two surgeries to remove pieces of broken bone from his head and stitch a gash over one of his eyebrows.
U.S. Border Patrol agents captured Banda-Acosta around 30 minutes after the accident, booking him into jail on a $100,000 bail. Another man in the car was also in the country illegally, according to Border Patrol agents.
Banda-Acosta has a criminal record including charges of domestic violence against his wife of 18 years. Banda-Acosta's wife said he had been deported from the U.S. around Jan. 10, but stayed in Mexico for only 10 days before returning to the U.S.
Lennox's family and doctors are "cautiously optimistic" he will recover fully, according to his grandmother, Cheryl Lake.
Lennox's two older brothers, ages 14 and 16, did not go with the rest of the family to Disneyland on the day of the crash.
"The kid makes friends everywhere he goes," said Cheryl, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. "He's just a delight as a grandson."
"There are not enough words to describe the huge impact his actions have had," said Cheryl of Banda-Acosta.
Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency planned to deport Banda-Acosta once again after any conviction or sentence are handed down for the hit-and-run and DUI case.
Andrea Guerrero, executive director for Alliance San Diego, cautioned against using one man's actions to characterize all immigrants.
"Drunk driving is a nationwide problem that has affected the lives of far too many," said Guerrero. "Using the pain and suffering of victims and their families to vilify a single community is irresponsible and unhelpful. We all need to work together, immigrants and citizens alike, in an atmosphere of trust in order to solve public safety issues."