Deportee accused of DUI crash that seriously injured 6 year old in court

CHULA VISTA (KUSI) — A preliminary hearing was scheduled Tuesday for an oft-deported Mexican citizen accused of driving drunk and fleeing the scene after blowing through a stop sign and crashing his truck into a car containing a family returning home from a day at Disneyland, seriously injuring a 6-year-old boy.

Constantino Banda Acosta, 38, is charged with hit-and-run causing permanent injury, DUI causing great bodily injury and driving without a license. Federal immigration officials said the defendant has been deported from the United States at least 15 times over the past 15 years, most recently on Jan. 18. He was also charged with a being a deported alien in the United States. 

Banda was speeding west on Camino de La Plaza about 11:30 p.m. May 6 when he ran a stop sign at Dairy Mart Road and crashed his pickup truck into a Honda sedan, police and prosecutors allege. He fled but was arrested about a half-hour later, police said. 

Lennox Lake — who was sitting in his car seat — suffered a major head injury and underwent multiple surgeries at Rady Children’s Hospital, his grandmother said. Doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that Lennox will make a full recovery. Lake was released from the hospital last month, according to a GoFundMe page set up to assist the family with medical costs. 

Banda’s attorney, Juliana Humphrey, said she intends to show that her client was not the driver of the pickup that smashed into the Lake’s Honda that night.

After the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for Banda to stand trial. 

Banda faces seven years and eight months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Chandler. 

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Categories: Local San Diego News