BLOOMINGTON — A McLean County judge has increased the bond of a man accused of driving the van in a fatal hit-and-run crash June 22, and the man's attorney said a surprise court appearance by ICE may explain why his client ran from the accident scene.
Jose D. Rodriguez, 27, Bloomington, was previously indicted on charges of failure to report an accident that resulted in a death, a Class 2 felony; disregarding a traffic control device; and driving without a valid driver’s license.
He posted his initial bond of $10,035 on June 26 but during an arraignment hearing on Friday, Judge William A. Yoder increased the bond to $100,035 and ordered Rodriguez to be held "on this case," while also acknowledging immigration officials were present.
Yoder ordered that if Rodriguez posts the new amount, he must wear a GPS monitor. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the charges and Yoder set the next court appearance for Aug. 27.
Prosecutor Mary Lawson told The Pantagraph she had not requested the increase. Defense attorney Chris Gramm called the bond increase "an ambush."
Lawson said she did not know whether Rodriguez was a legal resident. "I think ICE answers that. If ICE is here and is looking to take him into custody, that answers that," she said.
After the hearing, Gramm said Rodriguez, a Honduran native, has been in Bloomington more than five years. Gramm said Immigration and Customs Enforcement released Rodriguez into the country and gave him paperwork. ICE knew his address and was supposed to notify Rodriguez of any further proceedings, but he was unaware of any immigration hearings, Gramm said.
"The question on everyone's mind is why would someone leave the scene? This scenario that unfolded today would help explain it," said Gramm.
Gramm said he had no idea that ICE representatives would be at the courthouse Friday. "In nearly 20 years of practice I haven't experienced this kind of ambush," said Gramm.
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He accompanied Rodriguez to the Bloomington Police Department within 24 hours of the accident so he could turn himself in. He said Rodriguez' blood and urine were tested and the man was taken to the McLean County jail.
Gramm said jail officials at the time told him there was no immigration hold on his client. Gramm said he inquired because prisoners do not receive credit for time served in custody if they are subject to an ICE hold.
If there is cause to deport Rodriguez, Gramm believes ICE would not act until after the local case has concluded.
On Friday, McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said he knew little other than Rodriguez had been taken again into custody. "If his bond is increased, I imagine he will stay with us," said Sandage, who was out of the office. The sheriff said he has had no contact with ICE regarding Rodriguez.
Previously, prosecutors said that on June 22, Rodriguez was driving east on MacArthur Avenue near the intersection with Main Street and struck a motorcycle driven by Corey Cottrell, 39, of Normal. Cottrell was pronounced dead at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez ran away from the scene, but turned himself into the Bloomington Police Department the next day.
About a dozen people attended Friday's hearing to show support for Cottrell's family, who buried Cottrell Friday morning.
"Both families understandably are hurting," said Gramm, acknowledging he does not know the Cottrells. "My client's family is with this undue surprise. This was a complete ambush."