An illegal immigrant – who had been deported 15 times – is accused of seriously injuring a 6-year-old boy in a Saturday night drunken driving hit-and-run crash, authorities said.
Constantino Banda-Acosta, a 38-year-old Mexican citizen, is accused of causing serious injury to a 6-year-old boy during a bout of Saturday-night drinking in San Ysidro, California. Banda-Acosta is an illegal immigrant to the United States who has been deported 15 times within the last 15 years. Most recently, he was deported on January 18.
Banda-Acosta stands accused of failing to stop for a stop sign in the hit-and-run. About 30 minutes after the crash occurred, he was taken into custody by law officers along with another man who was also an illegal immigrant.
Lennox Lake, 6, was returning with his family from a trip to Disneyland on Saturday. They were just a block away from home when the disaster happened at approximately 11:30 p.m. As a result of the collision in which Banda-Acosta’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck slammed into the family’s Honda Accord, Lennox was knocked unconscious in his car-seat and was bleeding from several head wounds. His father was trapped in the vehicle, while Ingrid -- Lennox’s mother -- crawled out of the front passenger seat to come to his aid. He had stopped breathing. By Tuesday night, he had had two surgeries to address his major head injury at Rady Children’s Hospital.
His father, Ben Lake, told Fox5 news, "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 added, "I just really care about bringing him home and making sure he’s happy again." Doctors are cautiously optimistic about Lennox’s prospects.
Currently, Banda-Acosta is being held on $100,000 bail and will face an arraignment on Wednesday. He has a record of similar incidents: in 2006, he was arrested on a DUI charge and had his license suspended three other times. In addition, he has been accused by his estranged wife of committing an act of domestic violence. Since 2002, he has been deported 15 times.
Lennox’s two older brothers, ages 14 and 16, did not join the family trip to Disneyland. The Lennox has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the medical bills and other expenses.
Not long after the crash, Border Patrol agents found the distressed Lennox family and their wrecked car. Once they had a description of Banda-Acosta’s pickup, they quickly found it. The two men in the pickup were arrested. Banda-Acosta was booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run with injury, drunken driving with injury, and driving without a valid license. Agents also took Banda-Acosta’s passenger into custody. He is also an illegal immigrant.
Grandmother Cheryl Lake told the San Diego Union-Tribune
reporter that she was shocked to know of the number of times Banda-Acosta had been deported. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has confirmed that it will seek to deport Banda-Acosta. Because of the Banda-Acosta’s history of deportation, Lennox and the Lake family will be eligible for assistance from President Trump’s new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or VOICE, office created to aid victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
A statement from ICE public affairs officer Lauren Mack read:
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has lodged a detainer against Mr. Banda seeking to take him into custody if and when he is released by local authorities to pursue additional immigration enforcement action and/or criminal prosecution. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Mr. Banda-Acosta has been repatriated to Mexico at least 15 times since 2002, most recently in January 2017."