Court documents filed by Rodriguez’s attorneys use the pronouns ‘he/him’ despite some confusion which may arise from the booking photo of Rodriguez. Unless directed otherwise by the Defendant or legal counsel, TGV will mirror the pronouns used in court filings by attorneys.
The man facing felony charges for driving his vehicle through a parade route is again asking a judge to grant him bond.
Rincon Police arrested 38-year-old Anthony Ray Rodriguez on June 25, 2022 after he drove his Jeep into the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ parade celebration ahead of the 4th of July holiday. Police said Rodriguez drove through a barricade and continued on for almost a mile as officers with the Rincon Police Department tried to stop him. According to news reports, Rodriguez narrowly missed several children walking in the parade as their parents snatched them from the road. RPD K9 Officer Ian Gallagher ended the chase when he drove his car head-on into Rodriguez’s vehicle. Following an investigation and in addition to reports that Rodriguez was smiling as he barreled through the parade route, RPD sought warrants for the acts.
In July, the Public Defender’s office filed a Motion for Bond, citing strong ties to the Effingham County community and no risk of witness intimidation or commission of other felonies. Superior Court Judge Michael Muldrew denied that request on August 15 and he’s remained behind bars ever since.
A grand jury returned an indictment on Rodriguez in July 2022, formally charging him with eleven felony offenses and two misdemeanors, including:
- Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer
- Harming a Police Dog or Police Horse
- Aggravated Assault (7 counts)
- Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer (2 counts)
- Obstruction of an Officer (misdemeanor)
- Reckless Conduct (misdemeanor)
On October 25, Rodriguez’s attorney, Justin Maines, filed a Motion for Bond Reconsideration. In the paperwork filed in court, Maines argued that Rodriguez has been diagnosed with anxiety by a licensed clinical psychologist and that condition has been exacerbated by the indefinite detainment in isolation in the Effingham County Jail.
Tuesday’s Court Appearance
Defense counsel told Judge Muldrew Tuesday that at the last bond hearing, the court stated it would consider in-patient treatment. Since then, Dr. Tom Black of Atlantic Counseling Services, an expert in mental health evaluations, evaluated Rodriguez and provided a diagnosis of ‘Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.’
Maines said Rodriguez, who is licensed as a behavioral therapist for children with autism, was ‘just trying to get to work’ when the car was driven through the parade. Maines also said Rodriguez was experiencing a ‘change in hormonal levels’ and since the last bond hearing, Maines met with Rodriguez’s general practitioner. That doctor said Rodriguez was actually scheduled for changes in hormonal levels in June. The mental health evaluator, Maines said, indicated the condition could be treated with therapy.
“Tony is in extreme isolation, which is having an extremely negative impact on her mental health. The Effingham County jail has a liability in putting her in the male population and they won’t release her into any other population. It’s an extremely bad situation,” Maines told the court.
Present for court in support of Rodriguez were his parents who traveled from Colorado. Maines said the two offered a strong family support system and that Rodriguez also owned property in Effingham County. He said that while the home is for sale due to Rodriguez being in jail for the last four and a half months, the community ties are there.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Breedon had another take on the request. He told the court that the state still opposed bond because a mental health evaluation is not ‘a change in circumstances.’
“I don’t believe anxiety and depression caused this,” Breedon said. “This wasn’t driving around barriers. We were one slip from a mass casualty event in Rincon. There were children jumping out of the way. The defendant was also directed by police to stop, while being chased. He then crashed into a police cruiser and totaled it.”
Breedon said that bond should be denied because:
- Rodriguez demonstrated a willingness to not obey the law,
- the consequences are serious prison time for the charges if there is a conviction and “it’s not if the defendant is convicted, it’s when,” and
- Rodriguez has a likelihood to flee and not return with the out of state ties.
Muldrew again asked Maines about in-patient care as an option.
“Dr. Black is not offering or recommending in-patient treatment for this mental health issue.” Maines also said there were many options for in-patient treatment other than Georgia Regional. “But we’re talking about someone who is licensed as a therapist for children,” he told the court.
“I don’t think Mr. Breedon exaggerated in saying this was almost a mass casualty event. Nothing has been presented to the court to ensure that society is protected. If you find an in-patient facility, I would be glad to consider that. But this court has already found the defendant poses a risk to the community. Bond is denied.”
Muldrew also told attorneys that the case would be scheduled for jury selection in January.