Trip home from Disneyland ends in disaster

Truck slams into family car, takes off
Posted at 10:46 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 13:03:07-04

A South Bay family is praying their little boy pulls through after a suspected drunken driver hit their car Saturday night.

Benjamin Lake, his wife Ingrid, and their 6-year-old son Lennox were on their way home from Disneyland. They were about a block from their home in San Ysidro around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.

"Stopped at In-N-Out Burger, got some milkshakes and then we were heading home," said Lake.

The family was at the intersection of Dairy Mart Road and Camino De La Plaza when Lake said a driver of a truck blew a stop sign.

RELATED: San Ysidro DUI suspect deported 15 times before

"The next thing I know we got slammed into," said Lake, who was briefly knocked out.

"When I came to, I asked my wife if she was OK, and she said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'Is Lennox OK?' He wasn't responding," Lake added.

The impact of the truck smashed the family's car on the right side. The seat behind the driver took most of the impact. That's where Lennox was sitting in his car seat.

"He didn't deserve any of this and he's getting the impact of it all," said Lake. "I wish it was me."

Lennox is currently at Rady Children's Hospital with serious head injuries.

"He's had a subdermal hematoma, skull fracture, fractured nose, eyes swollen shut. His scalp has a laceration on it that required six stitches," said Lake, who struggled to hold back tears. "His bone was depressed into his skull, so they had to cut him from ear to middle of scalp, pull back the scalp, remove the bone, clean it and clean the wound."

The Chevrolet pickup truck that matched the description of the vehicle that struck the Lake family was found at the intersection of Vista Lane and Corte Amalia.

The driver, identified as 38-year-old Constantino Banda, was arrested shortly after the wreck about a mile away from the crash scene. He's in jail facing charges of DUI, hit-and-run and driving without a license.

A passenger who was with Banda at the time of the crash was also arrested.

Border Patrol officials said Banda and his passenger were "both determined to be Mexican nationals in the country illegally."

RELATED: Records: Crash suspect cited for DUI in the past

"I don't know how you hurt someone like that and just drive away," Lake said. "Especially a little boy."

10News learned Banda has a criminal record that includes two arrests on domestic violence charges in Chula Vista. His most recent arrest was on January 9, 2017.

Banda's estranged wife, who did not want to give her identity, said he was deported on January 10 and showed up at their home in Chula Vista on January 20.

She said she's trying to get a protective order against him. The couple has been married 18 years. They have four children, but the woman said she's taking their kids and moving out.

Lennox's dad said the driver's past makes the accident even more devastating.

RELATED: Witnesses reveal seeing hit-and-run suspect prior to crash

"I try to be really compassionate to anybody that comes to this country because we're all here from other places and I really want to support people that come here and work hard," said Lake. "But it's hard knowing he has a past criminal record; he's not one of those hard-working people contributing to society, and then to do this and just drive off …"

Lake is also worried about mounting medical bills, especially since it's unlikely that the driver had insurance. The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.

Doctors think Lennox will eventually make a full recovery, but he has a long road ahead.

"We're just thankful he's alive," said Lake.