BLOOMINGTON — The man accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident in June pleaded guilty Monday morning.
A bench trial was scheduled to begin Monday for Jose D. Rodriguez, a native Honduran and Bloomington resident of five years, but instead he entered a guilty plea on the felony charge of failure to report a June 22 crash that resulted in a death.
Rodriguez, who has been in ICE custody since August, faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced.
In exchange for the plea, the charge of disregarding a traffic control device was dismissed.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez was driving a van east on MacArthur Avenue on the afternoon of June 22 when he drove through a stoplight and collided with a motorcycle driven by Corey Cottrell, 39, of Normal.
Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson said witnesses reported Rodriguez was at the scene and approached Cottrell after the accident, but he did not offer aid or speak to Bloomington officers who arrived at the scene.
Rodriguez turned himself into Bloomington police the next day.
Because he is charged with a Class 1 felony, Judge Scott Drazewski said Rodriguez may be sentenced up to 15 years in prison with mandatory supervised release after the sentence is served.
Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson entered a motion to revoke Rodriguez’s bond following the guilty plea, but Drazewski denied it.
“The defendant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence, however he has appeared in court on each and every occasion (that he was required),” he said. “The court does not ascertain there is sufficient changes in order to revoke the defendant’s bond.”
Rodriguez was released from McLean County jail on Aug. 11 and taken into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He did not appear to be in custody Monday morning.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for April 8.
Rodriguez also faces a wrongful-death lawsuit filed in McLean County on behalf of Violet Hinojosa Cottrell, Corey Cottrell's former wife and the mother of his two minor children. A status update on that case is set for Feb. 13.
Photos: McLean County jail mugshots
Thomas Kelly Benge
Da Jon S. Glass
Tommie Lee Slayton
Modesto Espinoza Mendoza
Romio A.L. Monroe
Hammet D. Brown
James C. Rellihan
Lawrence P. Lewis
Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.