Suspect in I-90 hit-and-run enters plea

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(WJW) – The trial for a 50-year-old Avon Lake man who police said hit a highway worker and kept on driving began on Monday.

Rolando Rodriguez, 50 pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated vehicular assault and one count of having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. A sentencing date should be set Tuesday.

Rodriguez previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated vehicular assault, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failing to stop after an accident.

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The crash happened on June 20 on I-90 in Westlake. The victim survived the hit-and-run but suffered severe injuries and had to go through multiple surgeries.

Police said Rodriguez drove his SUV into a work zone on the highway and hit Richard Szymkowski. Szymkowski had a skull facture and numerous broken bones.

Rodriguez drove off but with the help of people on social media, investigators determined the SUV was a Toyota FJ Cruiser and found that ODOT cameras captured video of the vehicle approaching the construction zone on I-90. They were then able to track the license plate and found Rodriguez with a damaged SUV at his home.

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Westlake police Capt. Gerald Vogel told FOX 8 News authorities found alcohol and empty cans inside Rodriguez’ car. However, Rodriguez was not tested for alcohol, since too much time had passed since the accident.

Rodriguez told police he doesn’t remember what happened. Police said Rodriguez has no criminal record.

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