SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A man involved in a DUI hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a young boy in the South Bay started his sentencing hearing Wednesday for violating federal immigration laws.
Constantino Banda Acosta, a Mexican national who had previously been deported from the U.S. at least 15 times in the past, has been in federal custody since March over federal criminal re-entry charges.
He was transferred to federal custody after charges against him stemming from a 2017 crash were dismissed.
Banda faced charges in the May 6, 2017, crash in San Ysidro that sent young Lennox Lake to the hospital with serious injuries, including head trauma.
Banda was initially charged with drunk driving and hit-and-run after authorities said he ran a stop sign at Dairy Mart Road and slammed his pickup truck into the Lake family’s car as they were heading home from a Disneyland trip.
Banda left the scene but was arrested about two miles away after Border Patrol agents spotted his damaged truck parked on a street, police said.
San Diego police Officer Michael Muniz testified in the first trial that Banda's blood-alcohol content measured .151 and .152.
Following a mistrial, a judge dismissed the case against Banda in March, saying there was no clear evidence that showed he was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
Banda’s lawyers had argued that another man in the truck, Jorge Adame Ariza, may have been driving the truck after a night of drinking with Banda.
Adame said Banda got into a fight with another man outside a Chula Vista restaurant before the crash. During testimony in a preliminary hearing, Adame said he picked up Banda but later moved into the passenger seat with Banda behind the wheel during the crash.