Lawsuit filed in case of Hillsborough boy killed by unmanned dump truck
Posted February 6
Updated February 7
Hillsborough, N.C. — The family of a 5-year-old Hillsborough boy who was struck and killed by a truck that rolled away from a construction site on Dec. 26 filed a lawsuit Monday in Orange County Superior Court against the companies involved in the building project.
Everett Copeland was playing outside with three other children when he was struck and killed by the truck, which rolled unmanned away from a construction site at the top of a hill on Dogwood Bloom Lane in the Forest Ridge subdivision.
The truck had been left unattended and running in neutral with the brake not properly set while parked on a steep slope as it was being loaded with dirt, the suit says. According to the suit, worker Alejandro Suarez had no experience in operating trucks and did not have a driver’s license.
Suarez, 28, of Harnett County, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and has been in the Orange County jail since his arrest. He 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.
Hillsborough police said Suarez was working for Kala Contracting, based in Apex, at the time of the incident.
“This man was unqualified and untrained to safely operate this truck, and his employers knew that and should never have allowed an unoccupied truck to be loaded so unsafely,” said David Kirby, a lawyer for the Copeland family. “This was an entirely preventable tragedy.”
The suit names Suarez, Kala Contracting and Amward Homes of N.C., the general contractor for the project and owner of the property, among its defendants.