At sentencing, teen confronts driver who ran him over

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WEST HEMPSTEAD -

A teen who was left with physical and emotional scars after being run over got the chance Monday to confront the drunk driver who caused his pain in an emotional day in court.

"I waited so long to look this guy in the face," says Nicholas Suarez, 15, of West Hempstead.

Suarez was skateboarding with other teens in the Cherry Valley Shopping Center parking lot in West Hempstead last year when he was run down.

The homeless driver, 43-year-old Luis DeJesus, was sentenced Monday to 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty in the case.

Police say DeJesus was drunk with a blood-alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit when he hit Suarez with his minivan. The teen spent months in the hospital recovering from multiple broken bones and internal injuries.

DeJesus showed little emotion in court during sentencing, even when Suarez spoke directly to him, saying, "Look at me... I want you to remember this face for the rest of your life." He then pointed to his multiple scars, and emphasized how difficult his recovery has been.

"Today I still deal with lots of physical injuries," Suarez said. "I deal with leg pain, hip pain, I get headaches all the time. It used to hurt to laugh. When my friends would come over to the hospital and they would visit me, they'd make me laugh and it would hurt, physically, to laugh."

DeJesus was given an opportunity in court to speak before sentencing, but he refused.

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