Sex offender who was drinking at Brownwood jailed after hit-and-run crash

John Lee Rodriguez

A sex offender who had been drinking at Brownwood Paddock Square was jailed after a hit-and-run incident sent a man to an emergency room.

Sumter County sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate the crash which occurred on the night of Feb. 23 at the Chevron gas station on Warm Springs Avenue.

A gray Dodge Journey SUV backed into a Nissan Rogue SUV. The driver of the Dodge Journey was “hesitant” to turn over his insurance information. An individual who had been traveling in the Nissan Rogue tried to shoot a photo of the Dodge Journey’s license plate, but the driver “hit the gas” and drove straight at the man who was taking the photo.

“He had to push himself off the SUV to keep from getting ran over,” the deputy wrote in the arrest report.

The man was treated at a local emergency room for a bruised hip and sore shoulder.

The Dodge Journey had a red motorized wheelchair on a wheelchair rack. A second man had been spotted in the Dodge Journey with the seat leaned back.

A witness identified the driver who fled as 31-year-old John Lee Rodriguez, who lives within three miles of the Chevron station. The witness said Rodriguez is his sister’s boyfriend’s son. When the witness got home, he said he saw the registered owner of the Dodge Journey quickly unloading his motorized wheelchair from the rack.

The vehicle’s owner told deputies that he and Rodriguez had a “few drinks” at Brownwood. He said he was not feeling well and Rodriguez had been driving them home.

Deputies found that Rodriguez is a Delaware sex offender and had not registered in Florida. He also has a suspended driver’s license.

Rodriguez was arrested Friday night at his home on charges of hit-and-run, driving while license suspended and failure to register as a sex offender. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center on $22,400 bond.

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