Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State to drop DUI charge against Channel 13 anchor Russell Rhodes

TAMPA — The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will drop a driving-under-the-influence charge against WTVT-Ch. 13 morning anchor Russell Rhodes, five months after he was tackled by an off-duty deputy in a Channelside parking garage.

Rhodes, 50, was headed for trial on Wednesday on charges tied to his Jan. 16 arrest.

Instead, he will plead no contest to misdemeanor obstruction as part of a plea agreement reached Monday by prosecutors and defense attorney Jeff Brown.

If a judge accepts the plea, Rhodes will perform 50 hours of community service, Brown said. Adjudication will be withheld, meaning he will not have a conviction on his record.

"The 50 hours of community service are appropriate based on the way he handled himself that night," Brown said. "I think Russell has already acknowledged he didn't handle it in the most professional manner."

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi would not discuss the plea negotiations.

Rhodes, who lives in Tampa, was arrested after a deputy stopped him in the public parking garage at Channelside on suspicion that he was impaired. The deputy said Rhodes 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.

Rhodes, whose jail mug shot showed injuries to his face, resumed his on-air duties in mid February.

Authorities said he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.179 and 0.178 at the time of his arrest, more than twice the limit at which Florida considers a driver to be impaired. But County Judge Cheryl Thomas threw out the blood evidence last week, saying it was improperly obtained. Without it, the state had little chance of winning a DUI conviction.

"Dropping the DUI is clearly the right thing to do," Brown said. "I hope people don't think he's being treated differently than anybody else."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at or (813) 226-3337.

State to drop DUI charge against Channel 13 anchor Russell Rhodes 06/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.