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Man charged in Wake Co. hit-and-run death of 13-year-old says he didn’t know what he hit

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Keith Jones Jr. (left) | Efren Vences (right) (Credit: WTVD)

WENDELL, N.C. — The man accused in the hit-and-run death of a 13-year-old Wake County boy made his first appearance in court Wednesday and said he kept going because he didn’t realize what happened, WTVD reports.

Efren Vences, 28, of Clayton, has been charged with misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle, felony hit-and-run and having no operator’s license.

Vences said Wednesday he was aware his car hit something but said it was dark and he couldn’t tell what it was. He told reporters he assumed it was an animal.

Troopers say Keith Jones Jr. was standing near Edgemont Road waiting at a school bus stop around 7 a.m. when he was hit. He was rushed to WakeMed where he was later pronounced dead.

Vences said he was on his way to work at the time of the accident. He said he turned himself in as soon as he learned a child had been killed.

“Once somebody called me and told me that this was on the news, I was, I pretty much contacted the dispatcher right away and I told him I was on the way back from Virginia and I told them where the vehicle was, and there was already troopers there waiting for me. And I did everything I could to try and help out,” said Vences.

Vences apologized for what happened and added that the accident is “destroying” him. He said he would try to help out and be as cooperative as possible.

A website has been set up to help the family cover Keith’s funeral expenses.