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Judge sets conditions for San Antonio man who went ‘off the radar’ for 2 years following fatal hit-and-run

May 18, 2019

A judge Friday imposed strict bond conditions on a San Antonio man who was “off the radar” for two years after being accused in a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian.

Court records indicate that Rodney Kevin Helms, 30, was driving his mother’s 2015 red Nissan Altima around 2:40 a.m. May 28, 2017, in the 1800 block of SW Loop 410 when he allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian. The victim’s name has not been released.

According to a police report, a witness said she saw the victim lying on the road shortly after the crash. She noticed a red car with a man inside driving slowly with its hazard lights on along the shoulder of the highway near where the victim was lying. The witness said she pulled up beside the red car and saw “major front-end” and windshield damage. She told police the man continued driving and exited the highway.

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Police were told about an abandoned vehicle matching the car’s description that was found a few blocks away. Officers noticed the vehicle had front-end damage with blood on the hood and windshield of the car and damage consistent with the victim’s injuries, the report states.

The vehicle also was missing a front license plate. A license plate matching the rear plate on the abandoned vehicle was found near the victim, according to records.

The vehicle was registered to Helms’ mother, court records indicate.

During a search of the car, authorities found evidence of alcohol, court records state.

The next day, Helms’ mother confirmed to police that the vehicle was hers, but that her son had been using it. Court records indicate that she also said her son confessed to her that he hit the victim, left the scene and was afraid to surrender to authorities.

An arrest warrant was issued at that time, but Helms remained a fugitive for nearly two years until he turned himself in March 13 at the Central Police Substation on South Frio, accompanied by his lawyer, according to court records.

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Helms was arrested, booked into the Bexar County jail and released on bond, but without conditions.

On Friday, Helms appeared with his attorney, Rolando Garcia, in the 226th state District Court for a hearing to impose conditions for his bond.

“He presents a very high risk for flight,” Judge Velia J. Meza told Garcia. “We have a victim who is no longer alive, and he (Helms) was off the radar for two years.”

Following the recommendations of prosecutor Austin Stout, Meza ordered that Helms be placed on a GPS monitor and could only go to work; no driving, drinking or using drugs was allowed; and weekly urinalysis testing required.

Meza also granted a request from the state to collect DNA from Helms.

He is awaiting indictment on a charge of failure to stop and render aid that resulted in death, a second-degree felony. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Elizabeth Zavala covers county and state courts in San Antonio. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | ezavala@express-news.net | Twitter: @elizabeth2863