A driver has been sentenced to jail and may be deported following the tragic death of a 5-year-old mowed down by his runaway truck.
Alejandro Suarez, 28, pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor charge of death by a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to 65 days behind bars, with credit for time served.
Suarez, who is an undocumented immigrant, may face deportation, his attorney told InsideEdition.com on Tuesday.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will assume custody of Suarez on February 28, his scheduled release date from the Orange County Jail in North Carolina, said lawyer Bill Young.
Little Everett Copeland was playing in his driveway on the day after Christmas when he was run over by the truck, which had rolled down a steep street, knocking over trees and jumping curbs before plowing into the child’s home.
Suarez had set the emergency brake before taking a bathroom break, Young said. But construction workers continued to load the back of the vehicle with dirt, he said, and as the weight increased, the braking system failed.
"We fully understand that no one intended to hurt Everett, including Mr. Suarez," the boy’s father said in court Monday, according to CBS affiliate WNCN-TV. "Everett’s death was preventable. There will always be that ache in our hearts."
In heartbreaking 911 tapes released by authorities, Everett’s frantic parents struggle to help and console their dying child.
“Is he conscious?” the dispatcher asked.
“No, no, no... he does have a pulse,” his father, Bill answered.
The boy’s mother can be heard crooning, “Mommy’s right here. I’ve always loved you, Everett. I’m right here, buddy. Mama loves you. It’s OK, buddy. You are always perfect.”
At another point, the distraught mother tells the operator, "You just get here on time."
Suarez cooperated fully with authorities and was distraught after the accident, according to authorities.
He acknowledged he was in the country illegally, saying he had crossed the border at age 17 and worked construction jobs to help his family in Mexico, Young said.
He is single and has no children, but sent much of his pay to immediate relatives across the border, his attorney said.
Everett’s death is still shocking to Suarez, Young said. “It was more than he could acknowledge or comprehend.”
Young said he doesn’t expect Suarez to challenge any deportation orders.
"He loves this country. But at this juncture, I think he is resigned to letting the government send him home," Young said.