04/02/06 — Greenwood driver will go to court

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Greenwood driver will go to court

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 2, 2006 10:06 AM

The man accused of hitting two Greenwood Middle School students at a crosswalk near the school last fall will have his day in court Monday, District Attorney Branny Vickory said.

Wilder Feldemar Mejia, 24, of Mount Olive, will appear in Superior Court at 11 a.m. in the Wayne County Courthouse.

Mejia was arrested Nov. 18 after allegedly running through a stop light and into eighth-graders Mackenzie Wessels and Carson Thomas. Both boys were transported to Pitt Memorial Hospital in critical condition and treated for serious injuries.

Both have since been returned home and are continuing rehabilitation.

Eyewitnesses said the light had been red for more than a few seconds when the boys began crossing Ash Street, only a few hundred feet from the school. The white Ford Explorer, allegedly driven by Mejia, simply didn't slow down.

When police arrived on the scene, Mejia was taken into custody under the name he allegedly gave police, "Luis Delgado Jesus." But on Dec. 6, a lawyer representing the man, released his real name, Wilder Feldemar Mejia.

A Guatemalan national, Mejia was originally suspected of being an illegal immigrant. Upon further investigation, prosecutors later learned he was in the country legally.

Robert Smith, one of the attorneys with Smith and Strickland, the firm representing Mejia, said at the time he was not sure how officers got the name, Jesus, claiming that the miscommunication was likely a result of a lack of Spanish-speaking officers at the scene.

Mejia, who has been in Wayne County Jail under $200,000 secured bond, was originally charged Nov. 21 with reckless driving and driving while his license was revoked, but two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury were added Dec. 1.

Vickory said the charges carry a minimum sentence of 15 months per count, with a 47-month maximum. Active jail time, however, will depend on the defendant's previous record.