The Medford man accused of allegedly drunk driving and severely injuring a 9-year-old boy with an unregistered pick-up truck in Bellport earlier this month was indicted on Thursday. On top of the 22 charges Roberto Fuentes is facing from Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's office, he is also under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
It was revealed at the arraignment that ICE has placed a hold on Fuentes, 32, meaning that his U.S. residency status is now in question.
Some of the charges filed against him by the DA's office include aggravated vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident, speeding, criminal contempt and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The August 7 hit-and-run incident occurred after Fuentes fled from police, who were investigating whether Fuentes had violated a restraining order filed by Irma Gonzalez, according to police. "The defendant drove by the home of Irma Gonzalez several times on August 7," the indictment stated. When police confronted Fuentes, he resisted arrest and a police chase ensued, according to law enforcement officials.
Police said Fuentes allegedly drove through a stop sign at the intersection of Patchogue Avenue and Post Avenue, hit a 2001 Infiniti before swerving onto the sidewalk and striking the 9-year-old, who was riding his bicycle.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Langlan told the court that Fuentes ran from the scene on foot, while bystanders lifted the truck off the boy, who was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center. The boy spent several days in the intensive care unit and was treated for a dislocated jaw and a severe head injury, Langlan said to State Supreme Court Justice William Condon, who heard the case.
The boy is recovering slowly at home, according to law enforcement sources. The three passengers in the Infinity suffered minor injuries, Langlan noted in court.
Attorney Antonio Salva, who is representing Fuentes, declined to comment on the case. Bail was set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond, but because of the ICE hold, Fuentes could not be released even if he posted bail.
The next scheduled court date is September 29. If it is determined that Fuentes is in the country illegally, he still will be tried on the indictment, according to the DA's office. If he is convicted and sentenced, he will serve whatever jail time is given.