By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – A wrongful death lawsuit filed in McLean County Court alleges the driver of a van and the van’s owner were negligent in the crash last month in Bloomington that killed motorcyclist Corey Cottrell from Normal.
Jose Rodriguez, 27, already faces a possible prison sentence on a criminal charge for allegedly failing to report the June 22 accident at Main Street and MacArthur Avenue.
The lawsuit seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages. It accuses Rodriguez of running a red light, driving over Cottrell, 39, as he lay on the pavement, then fleeing before first responders arrived.
Authorities said Rodriguez surrendered to Bloomington Police the next day.
The lawsuit also names the van’s owner GR Framing Construction Incorporated and German Javier Rodriguez as defendants. The lawsuit claims they should have known Jose Rodriguez did not have a valid driver’s license and that he was unfit and unqualified to drive the van.
A judge earlier this month ordered Rodriguez jailed in the criminal case on a $100,035 cash bond because of a federal immigration warrant. Rodriguez is from Honduras, but has lived with relatives in Bloomington for at least five years, according to his lawyer.
LeRoy attorney Thomas Pliura filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cottrell’s former wife, Violeta Hinojosa Cottrell, who is the administrator of the estate and mother of his two daughters.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at email@example.com