A Dodge County judge on Friday placed a Beaver Dam man on probation for ten years for causing a drunken driving rollover crash that killed his girlfriend. Guadalupe Rodriguez Jr. was drunk and high as he drove 90-miles-an-hour down North Spring Street in November of 2010. He flipped his Honda Civic by the Beaver Dam Middle School, resulting in the death of his girlfriend, 22-year-old Diamond Avalos. Rodriguez is now a quadriplegic, a factor that weighed heavy at Friday’s sentencing. As part of the plea agreement, Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg recommended against any incarceration, leaving the details of sentencing to the court. He says it does not serve the interests of justice and the needs of the community to lock someone up who could not possibly be a threat to the public.
Klomberg says this was one of the most emotionally difficult cases of his career. He decided to take it on because the defendant had refused to take responsibility for his actions, contending until the very end that Avalos was the driver. Judge John Storck confirmed in his ruling that she was not the driver. Klomberg says though, it is one thing for the court record to reflect that Avalos was not at fault and quite another for Rodriguez to come to terms with his guilt. While Rodriguez did apologize to the family at sentencing, Klomberg says “he is going to have to search his own soul as to whether or not he is ever going to take full responsibility.”
As part of the sentence, Judge Storck ordered Rodriguez – at the family’s request – to review squad car video footage of Avalos being removed from the wreckage. He must also visit a memorial bench for Avalos at the zoo in Madison in each of the next two years and write a letter of apology to the family. The ten years’ probation must be served without using drugs or alcohol. The 21-year-old was also ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the victim’s family. And finally, the court ordered Rodriguez to participate in Victim Impact Panels as a deterrent to drunk drivers.