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‘He’s fighting’: Father hopeful about boy injured in DUI crash

SAN DIEGO -- A 6-year-old boy who was critically injured when a suspected drunken driver crashed into his family's car is awake and talking again, his father said Friday.

Lennox Lake suffered major head injuries Saturday night when his family's Honda sedan was hit by a pickup as the family returned from a day at Disneyland. The boy has undergone several surgeries at Rady Children's Hospital.

"He's doing OK. He's fighting," his father, Ben Lake, said. "It's a little bit of a struggle trying to get him to eat food, but every day is a little bit better."

Lennox suffered a skull fracture, a base skull fracture, a nose fracture and other injuries in the crash, Lake said. He was unconscious for several days after the crash. When he woke up, he had no memory of the accident and his parents had to explain why he was in the hospital.

"He asked if his mom was OK. That was his first question," Lake said.

Lennox can talk and his personality seems to be intact, but he is very tire and complains of headaches and eye pain, his father said.

"It's just a little bit of delays here and there, and definitely his energy and focus isn't what it used to be, so we're hoping that just the brain is recovering still," Lake said. "Hopefully in the next week he'll be able to go home."

Meantime, federal prosecutors filed an immigration charge Friday against Constantino Banda-Acosta, the Mexican citizen accused of driving drunk and fleeing the scene after crashing his truck the Lake family's car.

C Banda-Acosta, 38, has been deported at least 15 times in the last 15 years, with the most recent removal from the United States occurring Jan. 18, immigration officials said. He was charged Friday with being a deported alien in the United States.

He was charged in state court Wednesday with hit-and-run causing permanent injury, DUI causing great bodily injury and driving without a license.

Investigators say Banda was speeding west on Camino de La Plaza about 11:30 p.m. last Saturday when he ran a stop sign at Dairy Mart Road and crashed into the family's Honda sedan. Banda fled the scene but was arrested about a half-hour later, police said.

Banda, who will be back in court May 18 for a readiness conference and May 23 for a preliminary hearing, faces seven years and eight months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Chandler.