LAKELAND, Fla. - Rodney Calvin Wimberly is behind bars tonight on charges of DUI manslaughter that stem from an April 2019 crash in which he was the driver and his girlfriend Shannon Oglesby was a passenger, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
Through evidence gathered at the scene, interviews with witnesses and other evidence, detectives said they determined that Wimberly lost control of the 1993 Jeep Wrangler he was driving and crashed into a utility pole.
According to investigators, Wimberly and Oglesby were drinking with friends at Tanner's Lakeside
Restaurant & Bar in Winter Haven and left between 5-5:30 p.m.
According to the arrest affidavit, Wimberly was stopped at the traffic light at Autumnwood Drive and southbound US Hwy 98. When the light turned green, Wimberly and a motorcycle accelerated quickly from the light. The motorcycle was out in front of Wimberly, who appeared to be attempting to catch the motorcycle and was accelerating quickly.
A witness said Wimberly lost control of the Jeep just south of the Race Trac Store and started to fishtail. Wimberly regained control of the Jeep and continued to accelerate, the witness said. Further south, Wimberly lost control again and skidded for at least 137 feet before striking a utility pole, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The impact of the crash ejected both Wimberly and Oglesby.
According to the PCSO, both Wimberly and Oglesby were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where Oglesby died. Wimberly sustained serious injuries in the crash, but survived, investigators said.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for a blood draw conducted at the hospital from Wimberly and had those blood samples tested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Forensic Laboratory. PCSO said, the toxicology results showed that Wimberly had a blood alcohol level of 0.143 g/100 ml of blood and 0.145 g/100 ml of blood. .08 is the legal limit in Florida.
“This was a tragedy that was 100% preventable. Mr. Wimberly made a conscious decision to drive while intoxicated endangering his life, the life of Ms. Oglesby, and the lives of other innocent people,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “His decision to drive led to Ms. Oglesby’s death and Mr. Wimberly will be held accountable. Our message is simple: please, don’t drink and drive—call a ride service or catch a ride from a family member or friend.”