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Rodriguez sentenced in 2022 Freedom Rings Parade crash
Anthony Rodriguez
Anthony Rodriguez - photo by Image submitted

By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald

Anthony Rodriguez, who was found guilty July 13 on 11 counts including multiple charges of aggravated assault, was sentenced Aug. 23 to 10 years in prison and 10 years’ probation.

After the sentence was handed down, Rodriguez’ attorney, Lloyd Murray, issued a statement saying that they accepted the judge’s ruling and that Rodriguez will receive credit for time already served. Rodriguez had been held in the Effingham County Jail since June 2022.

Just after the beginning of the Freedom Rings Parade in Rincon in June 2022, Rodriguez sped through a section of the parade narrowly missing parade participants and parade spectators, including children.

Rodriguez’ Jeep Grand Cherokee was stopped with a purposeful head-on collision by Rincon PD Officer Ian Gallagher in his police cruiser with K-9 officer Razor in the back seat. Gallagher sustained neck and shoulder injuries and has since returned to work. Razor was not injured in the collision. Advanced Deputy Caleb Grovenstein assisted in stopping and apprehending Rodriguez.

During the chase of just under a mile on Fort Howard Road, Rodriguez’ vehicle narrowly missed hitting parade spectators, participants and vendors.

To prevent a repeat of 2022 at the 2023 parade in June, Rincon Police Chief Jonathon Murrell told the Rincon City Council at its regular meeting on May 22, “We will have all our hands on deck and we are asking for more to provide as much as we possibly can. We also got with the fire department. (Chief Lou) Reed is going to give us a couple of engines to help block intersections.”

Gallagher and Grovenstein were grand marshals of the 2023 parade, which was held without incident.