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Man charged in North Carolina child’s death was in country illegally

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Alejandro Suarez

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – A man charged in the death of a 5-year-old North Carolina boy was in the country illegally, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

WTVD reported that 28-year-old Alejandro Suarez left a construction truck running and did not set the parking brake Monday afternoon before it began rolling down a hill into a home, killing William Everett Copeland.

The tragic incident happened in a Hillsborough subdivision where homes under construction are mixed with finished ones.

Just before 1 p.m., construction crews were loading the back of the truck when it started rolling. No one was inside the cab when it started gaining speed down the hill, through a front yard, a driveway, and then a garage door.

A group of children were playing in the yard and Everett couldn’t get out of the way. The truck hit him before crashing into the home. Neighbors said a doctor who lives in the neighborhood ran over to help; she performed CPR until emergency crews arrived.

Everett was rushed to Duke University Hospital, but did not survive.

Suarez, of Angier, is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Police said he was responsible for the control of the vehicle. He was taken to the Orange County Jail and is being held on a $10,000 bond. A bond document said he was not carrying ID when he was arrested.

Officials told WTVD on Wednesday afternoon that Suarez told police that he was a Mexican citizen.

According to North Carolina law, if found guilty, Suarez’s misdemeanor death by motor vehicle charge could result in jail time of up to 60 days if this is his first conviction. The penalty also comes with a fine, which will be at the discretion of the court and likely under $1,000.

Even though Suarez was not behind the wheel of the truck as it struck the boy, he was named as the responsible party. A legal expert told WTVD the court can find Suarez responsible of gross negligence.