The 29-year-old Kenosha man charged in the West Allis crash that killed a 6-year-old girl Monday could face federal charges for re-entering the country illegally after being deported to Mexico in February, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office said Wednesday.
Gail Montenegro, spokeswoman for ICE’s Chicago region, said her agency expects to file federal re-entry charges against Jose A. Rodriguez, accused of striking Mackenzie J. Maddox and her 25-year-old mother, Andrea F. Maddox, both of West Allis as they crossed the street.
Andrea Maddox remains in satisfactory condition at Froedtert Hospital.
Rodriguez was charged Wednesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with driving with a revoked license, causing death, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to nine months in jail. According to the complaint, he was driving a red dump truck north on S. 84th St. and crossed W. Cleveland Ave. under a green light when he struck the two pedestrians.
Rodriguez, who waited for police at the scene, is being detained on an immigration hold at the Milwaukee County Jail. He faces from two to 20 years in prison if convicted, depending on the types of criminal offenses for which he was deported, Montenegro said.
More than 100 friends and family of Mackenzie and her mother held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night near the scene of the collision.
“I’m having a real hard time getting up in the morning and not seeing her there,�? said Mackenzie’s grandmother, Christine Maddox. “Mackenzie was a very caring girl, very, very helpful for a 6-year-old. You would think she was 12, as much as she was able to help people.�?
According to police, Rodriguez has several traffic-related convictions, including one for driving while intoxicated. He was first identified by ICE while serving 30 days in the Kenosha County Jail on that charge, under the agency’s Criminal Alien Program that identifies individuals who are in the country illegally and serving time in jails and prisons, Montenegro said.
The program identified 164,000 criminals last year, up from 64,000 the previous year.
ICE referrals for prosecution after re-entry resulted in 3,800 criminal prosecutions over the past eight months, more than double for the previous full year, Montenegro said.
Rodriguez works for an Oak Creek waterproofing business. He has convictions for driving while intoxicated, speeding, failure to obey a traffic sign and property damage accidents, said West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth.
Crocker Stephenson and Ryan Haggerty of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report
In June 2008, Mackenzie was hit and killed while crossing the street in a suburb of Milwaukee. The man behind the wheel was previously-deported Mexican national Jose Rodriguez.
As the little girl and her mother crossed the street at S. 84th St. and W. Cleveland Ave. in West Allis, WI, the car driven by Rodriguez came speeding through the intersection, striking both the little girl and her mother Andrea. Mackenzie died at the scene and her mother was taken to Froedtert Hospital, her mother survived her injuries..
Rodriguez, worked for an Oak Creek waterproofing business.
Only four months before the homicide, Rodriguez who had four prior convictions including a DUI, was identified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as being in the country illegally and deported to Mexico.