Cape Coral Police Department
1100 Cultural Park Blvd
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Date: April 14, 2011
Subject: Cape Coral Police Make Arrest in Manslaughter Case
On September 23, 2010 Cape Coral Police responded to a reported trafficcrash at 243 SE 45th Street. Upon arrival, Corliss Rhodes was foundpinned between a 1984 GMC van and a palm tree. Lee County EMS pronouncedRhodes deceased on scene.
The investigation revealed that Corliss Rhodes and her sister, RuthNewman along with another family member went out to a night club thatevening where they all consumed alcohol. Rhodes drove the group home atwhich point Newman became verbally abusive towards her.
Newman's verbal abuse turned physical and she began striking Rhodes withher hands as Rhodes was driving them home. Upon arrival in the drivewayof 243 SE 45th Street, Newman continued to slap and strike her sister,Rhodes.
Newman refused to exit the van after pleas from Rhodes and other familymembers to do so. Corliss Rhodes became frustrated with Newman'sbehavior and started to get out of the van through the driver's door.Newman continued to swing her arms wildly at Rhodes and grabbed for heras she was exiting the van. In doing so, Newman reached over into thedriver's seat to grab Rhodes.
At this point, Newman moved into the driver's area and took control ofthe van. Newman's flailing arms knocked the gear shift from park intoreverse. The van, still running at this point, began to travelbackwards. Corliss Rhodes became caught in the driver's door as apassenger attempted to take control of the van from Newman. Newman beganstriking this passenger, allowing the van to continue to travelbackwards.
Corliss Rhodes was attempting to press the brake pedal by hand as thevan was still slowly traveling backwards. As she was near the floorboardof the van, the passenger was attempting to take control of the van fromNewman. Newman was still slapping and striking the passenger at thistime. During the struggle, the gas pedal was depressed and the vanaccelerated.
Corliss Rhodes was still partially out of the van, reaching in andtrying to apply the brakes by hand. When the van accelerated backwards,Rhodes was dragged backwards and pinned between the van and a tree,killing her.
Lee Memorial Health Records indicate that Newman's blood alcohol was.164 at the time of the incident.
Detective Paul Kaye prepared a case and presented it to the StateAttorney's Office. The State Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrantfor Ruth Newman on charges of Manslaughter on Wednesday April 13th 2011.
On Wednesday April 13th at 4:00pm the Cape Coral Police Street CrimesUnit located Newman and placed her under arrest for the warrant.
Ruth Newman (01-17-53)
243 SE 45th Street
Cape Coral, FL 33904