Local News

Apex contractor hired man with history of DWI, without legal status to work in Hillsborough development

Posted December 29, 2016
Updated December 30, 2016

— 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.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • John Johnson Jan 1, 2017
    user avatar

    Good Example for Deportations Illegals and Heavy Fines And Loss of Licenses for those Who Hire Illegals. Their Choices. Every Country has Embassies and Official Offices they Can Go To the Be Legally Accepted into Another Country !? We As Americans Do !!

  • Michael Bawden Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    We dont need a wall!
    Sue the pants off companies that dont use EVRIFY.
    8 US Code 1324a

  • Russell Williams Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    Only a $10,000.00 bond!

  • Renee Grainger Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Why would anyone hire an illegal immigrant to begin with? Illegal immigrants are part of this great nation'so problems. STOP hiring illegals and hire the American worker who wants to work, to provide for their families. This would keep the numbers down, on people/families that need welfare to live. Also, a little off point, but people let who are on welfare should be forced to work, go to school or volunteer at least 30 hours a week in order to receive anything. That is, unless they are REALLY disabled.

  • Renee Grainger Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    We are in the grading business and have several dump trucks. The driver should be charged but must stay here to serve his time then deport him. The company he works for should also be charged with negligence because they didn't get a copy of his NC drivers license and insurance. If they had done that, they would have caught the DWI and the fact that he had no NC commercial drivers license. If they would have done a criminal background check, they would have saw that he was here illegally. If they would have completed the correct tax papers, when he was hired" they would have caught t hat he was here illegally. There was 2 opportunities to "catch" this before this happened. We are required by law to do this. The contractor should also be charged with negligence because they did not obtain the above information from the company that they hired. This is also required by law. The only safe way to have stopped the truck was to place it in park, set parking brake and turn off the engine.

  • Michael Thompson Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    The construction industry is where it is because of government regulation over small business, lawyers and insurance companies, and most importantly, consumers. Next time you need work done on your home, get 5 estimates. The estimates should be assembled from companies that fit different portfolios ranging from an undocumented worker in a truck to a licensed general contractor that doesn't sub-contract any work out. The lowest bidder (the one you'll chose) will need roughly $25 an hour per worker and almost all of it goes in his pocket. The highest bidder (the one you'll be mad at) needs about $75 an hour per worker. After covering the cost of taxes, from city to federal. Then Insurance from workers comp and general liability to auto, tools and health. Then add overhead for an office to keep up the government required documentation and records of employees. If you have ever taken the lower bid, you're part of the problem. America wants it fast cheap now, until someone gets hurt.

  • Henry Evans Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    This is a huge part of the problem with illegal immigration. US companies that hire them. To stop US companies form doing this, there also needs to be criminal liability as well as fines. Until a few unscrupulous managers and owners are sent to jail it will not stop.

  • Thomas White Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    If NC would allow the "illegals" to obtain drivers licenses things might change. The State could have a surcharge on both the license and insurance and make the license a different color so it could not be used for voting. A hundred dollar a year surcharge would make cents (sense).

  • Jeffrey Derry Dec 30, 2016
    user avatar

    build the wall President elect Trump

  • Brian Tucker Dec 29, 2016
    user avatar

    Contractors and sub contractors (the companies the builder hires) bring in illegals so as they don't have to pay anything on them except there weekly CASH pay, it's been going on for years now. Most builders contract there work out, and I'm sure the builder can't be that blind to not know illegals are working for these contractors. It's sad that something like this had to happen to a beautiful young child, but if the contractor had legal help with drivers who had CDL license, and the driver work know about the setting the brake, none of this would of happened, let's just hope this Kaka co. gets sued and put out of business.