Feb 11, 2014 7:58 PM by Nathan O'Neal
TUCSON - A 28-year-old man accused of driving drunk and killing an 18-year-old man in an accident on the south side has been in the country illegally for years with a checkered criminal history.
News 4 Tucson learned that Juan Miguel Hernandez-Rodriguez, who was arrested and booked into the Pima County Jail on Saturday, also had an immigration hold placed on him.
Hernandez-Rodriguez faces four felony charges, including 2nd degree murder, after a fiery accident on 6th Avenue near the rodeo grounds.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed that Hernandez-Rodriguez is a Mexican national and was previously detained at the Florence Detention Center in May 2009 after his first encounter with Border Patrol.
In June 2009, a judge with the Department of Justice granted Hernandez-Rodriguez immigration bond and was released from custody. His removal case remains pending in immigration court in Tucson.
Hernandez-Rodriguez was previously arrested in 2007 for theft in Maricopa County. In 2010, South Tucson Police arrested him for possession of marijuana and he was also cited for a criminal traffic violation back in 2011.
Court records show that Hernandez-Rodriguez was offered diversion sentencing, which he didn't finish.
The accident Hernandez-Rodriguez is accused of causing resulted in the death of Wilberto Llanes.
Jovani Ruiz is outraged. His cousin, Wilberto Llanes, was killed in the crash and he claims the accident could have been prevented had authorities followed up on Hernandez-Rodriguez's criminal activity and deported him.
"This definitely could have been prevented... if they would have just done their job right the first time," Ruiz said.
Ruiz wants the Hernandez-Rodriguez to claim responsibility.
"Those that are working this case, I hope you have a strong backbone and you do what you know is right - and you know just deporting him is not the right thing, punish him to the full extent," Ruiz said.
Hernandez-Rodriguez's removal case remains pending in immigration court.
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