Blood sample thrown out in TV anchor Russell Rhodes’ DUI case

June 26th, 2009 by
TAMPA — A Hillsborough judge has thrown out the blood evidence in the driving-under-the-influence case against WTVT-Ch. 13 morning anchor Russell Rhodes.

That evidence showed that Rhodes had a blood-alcohol level of 0.179 and 0.178 — more than twice the limit at which Florida considers a driver to be impaired — after he was arrested at Channelside in January.

The state will now have a difficult time proving Rhodes, 50, was impaired. Rhodes was not given a breath test.

“This is the only evidence they have of the DUI,” said Jeff Brown, Rhodes’ attorney. “There’s no case here.”

Rhodes, who lives in Tampa, was arrested Jan. 16 after an off-duty deputy stopped him in the public parking garage at Channelside on suspicion that he was driving under the influence. The deputy said the morning news anchor tried to walk away twice after being ordered to stay put and surrender his car keys.

When Rhodes tried to run out of the garage, authorities said, the deputy took him to the ground and arrested him on a charge of obstructing or opposing an officer without violence.

His face bruised and bloodied from the incident, Rhodes was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment. That’s where he signed a consent form to have his blood drawn as part of a DUI investigation.

But Brown argued in court Tuesday that Hillsborough sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Morrey neglected to tell Rhodes that he was not required to sign the form. Rhodes gave consent under duress, Brown said.

At the hearing, Morrey said he had informed Rhodes of his options. However, that testimony was at odds with statements the deputy made under oath in March, Brown said.

County Judge Cheryl Thomas granted Rhodes’ motion to suppress the blood sample because his consent was not voluntary.

The judge previously denied Rhodes’ request to toss out his arrest on the obstruction charge.

The case is set to go to trial on Monday.

4 Responses

  1. eric

    Another case of pigs, I mean LEOS beating the shit out of someone with impunity. Why do Bubba and Brent worship the cops so much? They are for the most part roided up douchebags on power trips.

  2. Todd

    If you weren’t drunk in the first place the cops would just leave alone. They have other fish to fry. Looks like the dumbass got off, good for him, and it probably cost him Ten grand for being such a dumbass. I can like of a lot thing I could do besides giving my hard earn money to Lawyers.

  3. Chris

    Sounds like Eric has had a “roided up douchebag” whip his ass… and from the way he speaks, I’m guessing it was deserved.

  4. kelly

    Drunk and Driving is Drunk and Driving..
    I think he was so douchebag drunk he did fall on his face and did that amount of damage, but..
    Id rather he gets beat up and hassled like I would if I was stupid enough to be driving that drunk.
    If your Dumb enough to Run from a cop, you deserve whatever you get.
    and What The Hell was going on with his pants being undone??? Sounds like Russle has more problems than just being Stupid.
    and It looks like Money gets you Off anything doesnt it… JUST ANOTHER LOCAL DOUCHEBAG THAT I DONT WATCH ANYWAY.. Love the mugshot of him…

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