Rodriguez Pleads To Felony Leaving The Scene Of A Fatal Accident | WGLT

Rodriguez Pleads To Felony Leaving The Scene Of A Fatal Accident

Jan 27, 2020

A Bloomington man pleaded guilty Monday to failure to report a June crash that left a motorcyclist dead.

Jose Rodriguez, 28, faces 4 to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced April 8 in connection with the crash that killed Corey Cottrell, 39, of Normal. He also is eligible for probation on the felony offense.

The state dismissed a traffic offense of failure to obey a traffic control device as part of the plea agreement. The plea was reached just ahead of a scheduled two-day bench trial.

In discussions with a prosecutor after the hearing, family and friends of the victim questioned Judge Scott Drazewski’s denial of a request from the state to revoke Rodriguez’s bond. The judge cited the defendant’s consistent appearance in court since his release on bond and his eligibility for probation as reasons for the ruling.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson told WGLT, “we thought it was appropriate to make the request to revoke his bond.” The prosecutor said previous requests to require an ankle monitor for Rodriguez have also been denied.

In a statement of facts to support the plea agreement, Lawson said the state has evidence to show a van driven by Rodriguez struck a motorcycle operated by the victim at South Main Street and MacArthur Avenue. Video surveillance from a nearby business shows Rodriguez leaving his van and approaching the victim without offering aid, said Lawson. 

Rodriguez did not identify himself to police as the driver of the van but surrendered to Bloomington police more than 24 hours later, said Lawson.

The defendant was in court with his attorney Chris Gramm and an interpreter.

Among the consequences of his felony conviction is possible deportation, Drazewski explained to Rodriguez. The defendant was held in a federal immigration facility before his release on bond. Originally from Honduras, Rodriguez has lived in the U.S. for about five years, Gramm said at a previous bond hearing.

A civil case seeking damages from Rodriguez and two other parties remaining pending.

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