A San Diego boy critically injured in a crash may never be the same, his mother testified Tuesday in the trial of the driver accused of driving under the influence. The defendant is a Mexican national who has been deported more than a dozen times in as many years.
"He'll sleep in our room every night because he's scared," Ingrid Lake testified. "He's scared to go on car rides."
Lake testified in the trial of Constantino Banda Acosta, 38, faces hit-and-run charges for the May 6 collision that seriously injured Lennox Lake.
Lennox and his parents were returning from a trip to Disneyland when the crash occurred.
The boy was strapped into a car seat in the backseat of the family's vehicle.
He suffered a long list of injuries, some including a fractured skull and bleeding from his nose and ears.
His mother testified the child has trouble with his short-term memory.
"He keeps just blanking out and he just stops talking and stares at you in the middle of the sentence, and he won't remember anything," she said.
He's unable to use his bunk bed or go to the playground, she said.
"Emotionally and mentally, I don't know, he's just not the same," Lake testified.
Acosta was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license and felony hit and run following the collision at Camino De La Plaza and Dairy Mart Road in San Diego's San Ysidro district.
Lennox's father, Benjamin Lake, testified about the impact of the collision.
The car went from being in the road to being in the bushes," he said.
Benjamin Lake said when he stepped out of his vehicle he expected the other car to still be there but it wasn't.
Defense attorneys say Acosta was not driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. They say his friend was behind the wheel.
Acosta was arrested after U.S. Border Patrol agents approached the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck found at Vista Lane and Corte Amelia, officials said.
Both the driver and passenger were determined to be Mexican nationals in the country illegally, officials said.
He has been deported at least 15 times in the last 15 years, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson.
In an earlier interview, ICE Public Affairs Officer Lauren Mack told NBC 7 the agency is seeking to take Acosta into custody if and when he’s released by San Diego police.
Mack said Acosta has been “repatriated to Mexico at least 15 times since 2002, most recently in January 2017.”
The passenger who was not identified by police was also taken to a U.S. Border Patrol station for processing, officials said.