04/30/06 — Driver due back in court Monday

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Driver due back in court Monday

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 30, 2006 2:11 AM

The 24-year-old Duplin County driver who struck two 13-year-old eighth-graders who were crossing East Ash Street is scheduled be back in Wayne County Superior Court.

Wilder Fidelmar Mejia Alvarado of Bennett's Bridge Road, Mount Olive, is scheduled to return Monday before Judge Jerry Braswell, who had sentenced him to 150 days in jail and placed him under electronic house arrest.

The purpose of the hearing is to review Mejia Alvarado's probationary status and perhaps add more conditions to it. He has been wearing an ankle bracelet since he was sentenced April 3 to await possible deportation to his native Guatemala.

Mejia Alvarado pleaded guilty April 3 to two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon while inflicting serious injury to the students, Mackenzie Wessels and Carson Thomas, who were struck Nov. 18, 2005.

Mejia Alvarado was arrested at the scene and charged with four traffic misdemeanors. The charges were upgraded 10 days later to felony assault. Because he could not post a $200,000 secured bond, he was held for 136 days in the Wayne County Jail before he pleaded guilty.

Mejia Alvarado was credited with the time he had served and had to spend only 14 more days before being released to intensive probation officers. He also was sentenced to consecutive terms of 20 to 33 months suspended and 24 months of supervised probation.

Mejia Alvarado had given Officer Steve Powers the name of Luis Delgado Jesus when he was arrested, used the name of Fernando Torres when he bought the Ford Explorer that struck the boys and had four other aliases, Goldsboro police said. When he was taken from court to the Wayne County probation officers, he used yet another name.

Defense lawyers and Duplin County authorities had identified the driver as Wilder Mejia and said he had a Guatemalan passport with the name Mejia Alvarado. But he also had a fake Mexican driver's license, prosecutors said.

The two boys, who live on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, were walking to school. They had started across the street with a green walk light between Meadowlane Elementary and Greenwood Middle schools. They were struck at about 7:30 a.m. and critically injured.

Both were rushed by ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where they were stabilized and then transferred to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Wessels was released after about a week. Thomas spent a much longer time in the hospital before returning home.