Sunday, July 17, 2011

High Parks Dept. Lifeguard Busted Driving With Kids To Work


He may be the city's worst lifeguard -- and his parenting skills need some work, too.

A pool patrolman driving to work high as a kite yesterday was busted as he sped through The Bronx with his three young kids unbuckled in the back seat, police sources said, according to the New York Post

Erlen Rodriguez, 28, was late for work and wearing his orange uniform at around 11:30 a.m. when he ran a red light at East 138th Street and Bruckner Boulevard and nearly mowed down several pedestrians, the sources said.

Police saw Rodriguez "speed up, rev his engine and point the vehicle at the pedestrians crossing the street, causing the pedestrians to run out of the way," a source said.

Cops caught up with the 1992 Honda station wagon three blocks west at Cypress Avenue. They found a joint and a golfball-size baggie of marijuana in the car, the sources said.

His tattooed girlfriend, Michelle Reyes, 26, was in the front seat, and their kids -- ages 5 to 11 -- were in the back.

Rodriguez allegedly told cops he "just smoked a little bit of marijuana" and was driving fast because he was late for his 10:45 a.m. shift.

Police arrested the two, and the Administration for Children's Services took custody of the kids.

The parents were charged with endangering the welfare of children and marijuana possession, and Rodriguez was also charged with reckless driving.

Rodriguez has worked as a city lifeguard on and off since 2000, according to the city Parks Department. He began working at the Wagner Pool on East 124th Street in Manhattan only this week, according to fellow lifeguards, and earned $16 an hour.

The department declined to comment yesterday.

"I think that's dangerous. The majority of the parents can't swim," said Jazzmen Owens, 22, who was swimming there with her son, Mark, 3.

The arrest comes just three days after a two Staten Island lifeguards failed to notice two men drowning in their pool. One of the military hopefuls died, and the other is in critical condition.

City lifeguards in previous years have been caught with booze in their stations, wearing headphones and sleeping on the job.

Additional reporting by Georgett Roberts and Josh Saul

Read More:

New York Post - July 17, 2011 - By Jamie Schram, Doug Auer and Heather Haddon

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