Apex contractor hired man with history of DWI, without legal status to work in Hillsborough development
Posted December 29, 2016
Updated December 30, 2016
Hillsborough, N.C. — The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles said Thursday that the man who was operating a construction truck that rolled down a hill and killed a 5-year-old has never had a driver's license in the state.
Alejandro Suarez, 28, of Spider Lily Lane in Angier, was unable to provide ID to investigators on the scene Monday after a dump truck rolled unmanned down a hill and into a home, killing 5-year-old Everett Copeland.
Suarez is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle Copeland’s death and could face deportation because he is in the United States illegally, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and has two previous moving violations.
According to authorities, Suarez, a construction worker, left a dump truck unattended at the top of a hill on Dogwood Bloom Lane in the Forest Ridge subdivision. He told first responders that he had set the brake on the truck only to see it rolling free, but according to an arrest warrant, the truck was left unattended, and he failed to effectively secure the parking brake.
Suarez was convicted of DWI in 2009, and he was charged in 2013 for driving while license revoked in Wake County.
Hillsborough police said Thursday that Suarez was working for Kala Contracting, based in Apex, at the time of the incident.
State documents show the company is currently under revenue suspension, which means a company either fell behind in paying taxes or fees, or did not provide the accompanying documents to the state, according to the Department of Revenue. Multiple calls from WRAL to Kala Contracting were never returned.
Suarez's attorney Bill Young said he is representing both Suarez and Kala Contracting.
Tony Wilbert, a spokesperson for Crescent Communities, the master developer of the Forest Ride subdivision, issued a statement Thursday evening.
"Crescent Communities is saddened by the Dec. 26, 2016 accident at the Forest Ridge community in Hillsborough. The accident involved construction equipment operated by a contractor hired by one of the community's homebuilders. Given the tragic circumstances, we have requested that all builders stop any construction activity in the neighborhood for the time being. We are working to better understand the exact circumstances and companies working on the home site when the tragic events unfolded. We continue to keep the boy’s family and friends in our thoughts and offer our strongest condolences to them.
We can state that Crescent Communities follows local, state and federal laws in regards to our business. We work diligently when we select the companies that work at our developments, and we expect the homebuilders in our communities to do the same, including ensuring that their contractors and subcontractors follow all applicable laws and rules. If we discover this not to be true, we will re-evaluate our relationship with those companies.
Because Hillsborough police have charged another company’s employee in the death, Crescent cannot comment on the actual events or criminal case. We are closely monitoring the situation and cooperating with authorities. Crescent cannot express strongly enough our sympathies for the child's family and friends."
Suarez was being held at the Orange County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond.