Posted on May 21, 2024

Critics Say Illegal Immigrant Charged in Fatal Semmes Wreck Should Have Been Deported

Brendan Kirby, WALA, May 17, 2024

Antonio Antonio Rodas had been on the radar of immigration authorities for nearly 5½ years when, according to police, he plowed into a car turning out of the Semmes Walmart parking lot on Moffett Road last month.

Antonio Antonio Rodas

Antonio Antonio Rodas

Not only had Rodas entered the United States illegally, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, but the agency confirmed it was aware of a previous arrest on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol n 2021. According to testimony at a hearing this week, Rodas drove his car into a utility pole.

But ICE did not take Rodas into custody at that time. A spokeswoman cited a policy directive issued by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas shortly after President Joe Biden took office. It lays out when a “threat to public safety” might trigger deportation but does not specifically mention DUIs.

“Most people would consider that kind of a DUI to be something serious that’s a threat to public safety, but under the Biden-Mayorkas priorities, he would not have been somebody that ICE would have been allowed to go after at that point in time,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Rodas, 29, now faces a murder charge. Prosecutors allege that he was driving 88 mph in the wrong direction of Moffett Road on April 28 and collided with a car driven by 19-year-old Adam Luker, who died about a week after the wreck.


Beyond Rodas’ immigration status, there are still unanswered questions about why there was apparently no response from authorities to his alleged failure to follow a judge’s orders in his first DUI case. Court records show he pleaded guilty in 2022. A judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail, followed by supervision by Metro Mobile Court Referral. {snip}

According to testimony at a hearing on Wednesday, Rodas stopped showing up for court-ordered meetings with his court referral officer after eight months. Court records show he also did not pay his fine, did not attend DUI school and did not install an interlock device on his car.