Local News

Clayton man apologizes for Wendell teen's hit-and-run death

Posted September 24, 2014

— A Clayton man charged in Tuesday morning's fatal hit-and-run involving a Wendell boy appeared in a Wake County courtroom Wednesday morning and apologized for the 13-year-old's death.

Efren Vences promised to do all that he can to help investigators in the case.

"I really apologize for what happened. I wish it wouldn't have happened," Vences said following the brief hearing. "It's destroying me, but I am going to try and help out and be as cooperative as I can."

Vences, 28, of 186 Jack Road, surrendered to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Tuesday afternoon and was arrested on charges of felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says he hit and killed Keith Jones Jr. with his 1989 burgundy Ford Crown Victoria as Jones waited for the school bus on Edgemont Road. Vences then left the scene, investigators said.

A conviction on the hit-and-run charge could carry a maximum of six years in prison, while a misdemeanor conviction could carry up to 150 days in jail.

During his court appearance, Vences – who posted a $50,000 bond – waived his right to a court-appointed attorney, and the judge set his next hearing for Oct. 15.

Jones, a student at Wendell Middle School, was waiting for the bus outside his home, and was found face-down in a ditch by his mother when she left to go to work around 7 a.m.

Vences said outside the courtroom that he was on his way to work in Virginia around 6:30 a.m. when the collision happened.

"It was dark, so I couldn't really tell what it was," he said. "Once somebody called me and told me that this was on the news, I pretty much contacted the dispatcher right away, and I told him I was on my way back ... and where the vehicle was."

Jones' parents did not want to comment Tuesday on Vences' arrest, but both spoke earlier about finding their son after noticing his book bag and him nowhere in sight.

"I picked up his book bag," Marie Jones said. "It was somewhat damaged like it had been ripped off of him. That's when I knew something was not right."

Family and friends have set up a fund to help defray funeral expenses for Keith Jones.


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  • 678devilish Sep 26, 2014

    Are people that "blind" that they cannot see a deer or a human being? Maybe they should watch their speed limit and slow down or just don't drive period.

  • 678devilish Sep 26, 2014

    At least he was honest enough to come forward. But still I wish people woud stop blaming the deer when they hit something. Stop the vehicle, get out, and check to see what you may have hit. Don't speed away and be sorry later.

  • ensti9 Sep 25, 2014

    And, finally, it came out. "as Jones waited for the school bus on Edgemont Road."
    I don't this means literally standing on the road. The accident report will be more conclusive. Vences' headlights should have shown him this wasn't any 'deer.' I think Vences didn't keep his big car in the lane. It wasn't completely dark at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Sure could tell if it was a deer.

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 25, 2014
    user avatar

    Yes, this guy needs to be put away. He does not deserve to ever drive again. BUT, something in the story just did not make sense. And, finally, it came out. "as Jones waited for the school bus on Edgemont Road." Initially, the report said jones was waiting for the bus "at his home". He was near his home, but he was standing in the road. We must teach our kids to never stand out in a roadway.

  • NiceNSmooth Sep 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Well since you know the answer why don't you tell it??

  • Kathy Sanders Sep 25, 2014
    user avatar

    Seriously, I had no idea how dark it has gotten early in the morning until I got up this a.m. and looked out just before 7:00 and it was almost pitch black. Even when it's light outside and I've had to go out early I hate driving when school buses are on the road. Most of the kids I've seen waiting for their bus are too close to the road to be safe.

  • jackaroe123 Sep 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Objecting to your fan fiction is not the same as defending himl. He had no license and he left the scene. To hear some of you tell it, he saw Keith, Jr and intentionally ran him down, or knew he hit him and knowingly left the scene. You and others seem like you can't handle the sadness of a young man's lost life and therefore need to convert it into as much rage as possible.

  • LocalYokel Sep 25, 2014

    6 years max and a felony for hit-n-run but only up to 0.4 years max for death by motor vehicle!? I interpret this NC justice as it's OK to kill people with your car - its like writing a bad check however it's very very bad to leave the scene of a wreck.

    The phrases of the accused are unsettling "really" apologizes (as opposed to a fake apology) and will "try" to help out (do or do not there is no try -Yoda).

  • Maureen Wilson Sep 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Let me add that Vences does not have a criminal record for a NC driver's license revocation, so why does not he have one? I think a few of us know this answer.

  • PanthersFan45 Sep 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    So instead you drive with a headlight out (also a violation) even though you lack a drivers license. Sorry I can't find a defense for this guy.