Driver involved in fatal crash jailed - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Driver involved in fatal crash jailed

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-The young man involved in a deadly wreck in downtown Lake Worth is back behind bars. Investigators suspect 23-year old Renee Rodriguez may have been drinking. He had been a free man, though, until Friday.

Rodriguez and his family declined comment as they entered a courtroom in West Palm Beach. Moments later in the hallway, as Rodriguez and his family waited to speak with their lawyer, Rodriguez broke into tears and hugged his mother.

Rodriguez was involved in Wednesday morning's fatal crash that claimed the life of 49-year old JoAnn Padilla of Greenacres. Investigators say Rodriguez ran a red light, plowed into Padilla's car, then tried to run away. Deputies also say Rodriguez may have been drinking.

Traffic fatality cases often take months to put together. Because of that Rodriguez has not been charged.

However just the week before, Rodriguez had been arrested, charged with possession of marijuana and driving while his license was suspended. Rodriguez was released on bond at the time.

Friday prosecutors came to court, trying to get that bond revoked in light of the fatal crash. Rodriguez's lawyer, Jay Preefer, argued his client hasn't been charged in the new case, so revoking bond was premature. Prosecutor Adam McMichael countered that the evidence against Rodriguez in Padilla's death is strong enough to warrant revoking bond in the previous case.

Judge Jeffrey Colbath agreed with McMichael, ordering Rodriguez taken into custody. Rodriguez blew his family a kiss as he was taken away, again crying.

After the hearing Rodriguez's family again refused to comment. Preefer, his attorney, said, "I'm surprised they revoked his bond without charging him."

Investigators continue to work the fatal crash in Lake Worth. No word on when charges might be filed.

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