Justice awaits capture of driver in fatal 2011 crash

By on December 10, 2012

First of four parts
This series traces how Luis Rodriguez has yet to face charges in a crash that killed Joe Storie, above, a visitor from Lenoir, in October 2011.

It only takes a split second for dozens of lives to change.

That is how long it took for a car driven by Luis Rodriguez to collide with a truck driven by Paul Thomas.

Joe Storie, a regular visitor to our shores, a man who loved the Outer Banks, lost his life. His sister Chris and wife Alicia were seriously injured and airlifted to Norfolk.

It took far longer for the wheels of justice to arrive at a point where the man charged with vehicular homicide vanished and has avoided facing the charges against him in a court of law.

That collision occurred just over a year ago, on Oct. 5, 2011.

As the anniversary of the death of Joe Storie passed his family is left with many questions, few answers and a feeling that the person who caused his death has escaped justice.

The Voice interviewed three of Joe Storie’s sisters this summer. In this video, Chris Storie remembers what led to the collision, which cut short the life of a husband, father, brother and respected employer.

The night of the accident, Rodruiguez was taken to Sentara Norfolk General hospital. Alicia and Chris Storie were airlifted to Sentara Norfolk. General.

Rodriguez was charged with one count of felony death by vehicle, two counts of serious injury by vehicle and one count of driving while impaired.

According to a former town official, the town asked the District Attorney’s office file a detainer on Rodriguez with Virginia authorities. A detainer essentially requests that a person be held against their will; in other words, in detention.

But Rodriguez was still in the hospital, and ccording to the District Attorney’s office, a detainer can only be filed against a person in custody.

Sources within the Kill Devil Hills Police Department told the Voice they requested aid from the Norfolk Police Department to ensure Rodriguez did not leave the hospital. But they were informed that Norfolk could not spare the manpower, although the state would argue later that there were Norfolk police officers stationed at the hospital.

Police called Sentara Norfolk General every day while Rodriguez was a patient to check on his recovery and were told, “he is in no condition to walk out of here” each time.

But eventually that is exactly what Luis Rodriguez did.

As soon as Kill Devil Hills police learned Rodriguez had fled Norfolk, they launched an investigation and worked to capture the fugitive.

According to documents filed in the Dare County courthouse, the police filed a warrant, worked with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies and eventually were able to locate Rodriguez.

The documents reveal that the police believed Rodriguez received help from local residents and they were able to track him down to Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh police officers arrested Rodriguez and he was returned to Dare County.

One document filed by Kill Devil Hills police says that when captured, Rodriguez was “attempting to abscond to Honduras.”

Five days after the accident, in an Oct. 10, 2011 town Board of Commissioner’s meeting, the official minutes reveal the town was also concerned about Rodriguez being returned to Dare County.

The minutes, referring to then-Mayor Ray Sturza read:

“Mayor Sturza was asked by the family to take whatever action he could take to ensure the person charged, who is not an American citizen, in the accident is not released.

“The Town Attorney has been asked to communicate with the appropriate agencies to communicate the Board’s intention that the man, who is charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor, return to Dare County for trial.

“Mayor Sturza asked the Board for their authorization to support him in this matter and it was given.

“KDH Officer Tatterson explained the communications he has had today with hospital officials, Norfolk law enforcement, federal/state agencies, and others that the Town desires to ensure the man be retained in custody. The Town’s police officers do not have jurisdiction in Norfolk.”

Rodriguez was charged with felony death by vehicle while engaged in the offense of impaired driving, two counts of felonious serious injury by vehicle, and driving while impaired.

When charged, Rodriguez filed a court document that he had no job and listed his assets as zero.

He was appointed a public defender.

Rodriguez had his first bond reduction hearing on Dec. 9, 2011. Judge Edgar Barnes presided, and Rodriguez was represented by the public defender.

At that hearing, officers from the Kill Devil Hills police department were present, as were members of the Storie family, including Alicia and Christina.

At the time of the crash, the traffic signal at Colington Road and U.S. 158 was malfunctioning and had defaulted to flashing mode. Rodriguez’s attorney brought up the malfunctioning traffic light as a possible contributor to the crash.

The district attorney’s office argued the light was flashing red for Rodriguez, who was driving on Colington Road. Barnes also allowed family members to speak about Joe Storie and the kind of person he was.

Barnes did not reduce the bond, leaving it at $60,000 secured for the felony death and $40,000 secured for the other offenses.

Next: The Storie family travels overnight for another bond hearing.

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Comments

A says

December 11, 2012 5:57 pm

Nevermind…I had to search and read another article, http://outerbanksvoice.com/2012/06/28/search-warrant-details-disappearance-of-fugitive/ in order to get the continuation of the facts.

So, if anyone else was confused like me….Jan 9th he had ANOTHER bond hearing and THAT judge reduced his bond down to $50k. Some (very stupid if you ask me) bail bondsman in E.City bonded him out and he fled (of course!). Not sure why all these facts aren’t in this one article…good thing I have good sleuthing skills.

A says

December 11, 2012 5:40 pm

Correction his bond hearing was Dec 9th….oops…but again, nothing about him fleeing between his recapture in raleigh and the bond hearing…or after? ..still confused.

A says

December 11, 2012 5:37 pm

I’m confused….this article doesn’t say he escaped a second time…does it? It says he escaped from the hospital and then was found in Raleigh and then I don’t see anything else as to his whereabouts? It doesn’t even state whether he was at the bond hearing on Oct 10, 2011…am I just missing something?? His bond was NOT reduced and stood at a total of $100k…did someone post bond for him?? Help, I’m clearly missing something.

Sarah

December 11, 2012 8:41 am

I really appreciate the voice following up on this story. I am also hoping the voice will follow up on another similar story some of the locals may remember from this summer. The young man (summer student) who was struck while riding his bike home from work by a local driver, the driver then fled the scene and was charged with DUI as well as felony death by motor vehicle and fleeing an accident. The young man that died passed away half a world away from his family, what I most remember about that article was his mother’s sad response to the death of her son.

Whitnel NC

December 11, 2012 1:01 am

Joe had lots of friends here in Caldwell Co along with a Wife ,3 children and Brothers and Sisters , they all should never have had to go through all this to begin with, but moreso letting Rodriguez get away, I would challenge the KDH PD to make every effort to post and refresh on national search sites this guys picture and name/s and I also think a segment on some tv shows shouldn’t be out of the question after all you guys let him get away ! Just so you know I am familiar with finding people also so you have the means at your disposal ! I would ask for his Families sake USE THEM ! I think it’s time you righted the wrong you done in letting him go. From an old friend from school I ask you exhaust your efforts only when he is behind bars without a bond !

Gary Triplett

December 10, 2012 6:32 pm

Here is the link to the PIC of Luis Alberto Rodriguez:
http://outerbanksvoice.com/2012/06/19/man-charged-in-high-profile-fatality-now-a-fugitive/

It would not surprise me if he is still in the area working and living under a different name!

Another suggestion

December 10, 2012 4:59 pm

@Arch…Why should Norfolk PD be ashamed? They investigate multiple homicides a night and have more crime in that one hospital then Dare County has in a week.

The KDH officers here were investigating a Felony Death by Motor Vehicle along with other serious crimes. I am aware that they did not have jurisdiction in Norfolk however, that does not prevent them from posting a KDH officer outside the hospital door.

As soon as Norfolk said they did not have the manpower, KDH should have headed that way.

KDH allowed an officer to take a part time job for 4 months in the summer. I am sure they could have spared a couple officers in October to take turns in front of that door.

Kdee

December 10, 2012 4:18 pm

It makes no sense that he was let go! It seems that someone wanted this POS let go! The DA should be going after him with everything they have. They owe Mr.Storie JUSTISE!!!!

arch

December 10, 2012 2:46 pm

i agree with all the above. also norfolk police should be ashamed of themselves

Gary Triplett

December 10, 2012 2:40 pm

Those who helped Rodriguez escape should be arrested and charged, and be made to be held accountable for their actions! WHY were those locals NOT arrested? Something’s not quite right here.

Gene

December 10, 2012 11:01 am

It’s only a matter of time until it happens again…

Kdee

December 10, 2012 10:49 am

If and when Louis is caught will he face additional time for fleeing? What about the people who helped him escape? Shouldn’t they face charges too? Seems like there are people in Dare county that do not want this POS to face justice or serve any time for his crimes. Just my opinion but seems like the ocean isn’t the fishy est thing in Dare county!

Mary

December 10, 2012 9:41 am

Dare Co can’t fix a problem when their hands are tied! A friend I had at Dare Co jail said when they picked up illegals and called, INS say would say call us when you have fifteen. Well its against the law just to hold them till you get fifteen so they were released to drink and drive and all the other laws they claim to not understand..no English” Had another prominent high ranking officer stand in DMV and inform me how bad it is that they spend countless hours investigating and apprehending subjects just for them to be released because they do not understand the crime they are being charged with and that gets them freedom..just a promise to not repeat and they disappear back into the underground. A sweet word to a lonely soul and you can have a place to stay and be undetected in Dare for years. So sorry a life was taken and with the high number of drinking while driving cases I’m sure it will happen again. Hopefully next time person will not be released

PS

December 10, 2012 9:38 am

Doubt if he is still around, but curious if the Voice could post a picture, so if spotted he could be turned in.

Jackie Harris

December 10, 2012 9:10 am

I wonder have any KDH Officers benn trained by the INS to inforce the laws for Illegals???

Native Son

December 10, 2012 7:30 am

Because illegal-immigration laws were ignored in Dare County for most of the last 15 years,we now have two highway deaths(H.Nizer)& Mr. Storie.But in a sanctuary county ,that’s how it goes.A tougher outlook on this problem years ago possibly could have avioded these deaths,at the expense of a few million dollar houses and yachts of course.Section 287G would have helped,former sheriff R.B.,now would’nt it?

LCD

December 10, 2012 7:07 am

The offender “Received help from local residents”…. Is that against the law?

Chris

December 10, 2012 5:29 am

Thank you Russ and the Outer Banks community. We miss Joe every second of every day and we appreciate y’all caring enough to try to find justice for this person who took him away from us. If he had just said I’m sorry and regretted it, it would have made a difference, but he didn’t and he fled instead.

Gary Triplett

December 10, 2012 4:02 am

This should have never happened, the driver managing to flee, not just once, but TWICE! I don’t understand how he got a bond reduction at the second bond reduction after he had already fled once, was an illegal, and a proven flight risk. It’s a true shame that this family had to suffer the loss of such a great man, and that Joe Storie’s children are now without their father because of a driver who apparently shows no remorse for killing Joe, and seriously injuring others. If and when Rodriguez is captured, we would expect to see him held without bond! Thank you Outer Banks Voice for keeping the people informed about what’s happening with this case.

NagsHeader

December 10, 2012 12:58 am

If it was a local LEGAL citizen… know that he/she would be under the jail.
Just research past similar crimes for proof.
Where’s the “appalled angry mob” on this?
Is it a politcally correct thing or what?

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