Parents of child fatally struck face driver in court

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Parents address driver who struck, killed their child in 2014.

Keith and D. Marie Jones found it hard to stay composed at times as they addressed the man in court who hit and killed their 13-year-old child in a crash, then left the scene.

Efren Vences entered a plea deal Friday. He didn't speak Friday in court, but he did start crying when he heard the parents describe how difficult life has been without their boy.

"You hit my son with your car, and you allowed his bruised and lifeless body to be dropped off in the ditch. And continued to drive to your destination. What a selfish, coward, irresponsible inhumane act," said the victim's mother, D. Marie Jones.


The accident happened in 2014. Highway Patrol said Keith Jones Jr. was standing along the road waiting for his school bus in 2014 when he was struck. The boy's father found him lying face down in a ditch.

Jones was a student at Wendell Middle School.

"He was a kid with a big heart, a big, loving, forgiving heart," said his mom. "He loved his friends."

Efren Vences (image courtesy Raleigh-Wake City-County Bureau of Identification)

Vences did apologize to the teen's parents at a previous hearing. He said it was dark out and he didn't see the child.

"I forgive him, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be here right now," said Keith Jones Sr.

"It doesn't erase the pain or grief," said D. Marie Jones. "I did want him to know personally face-to-face, thank you for turning yourself in, but you still need to be held accountable for your actions."

Vences was sentenced to two years supervised probation. As part of his plea deal, he'll have to spend 12 days a year in jail during that probation period. Vences will be in custody on days such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Jones' birthday.

A judge also ordered Vences to make a $1,000 donation to the Keith Jones Memorial Athletic Foundation.

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