Chattanooga police are still investigating a Sunday morning automobile crash on Interstate 75 that killed a Dalton man.
Police say a vehicle driven by Jacob Flowers, 22, was traveling north on the interstate around 1 a.m. when something caused the vehicle to strike a guard rail on the passenger side of the vehicle. Jovanny Rodriguez, 21, a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Flowers was taken to an area hospital.
Officer Nathan Hartwig said on Wednesday the crash is still under investigation and authorities haven’t determined what caused it. Blood tests are being conducted, he said, and Rodriguez’s body was sent to the state lab. Hartwig said he couldn’t release the crash report because of the ongoing investigation, but it doesn’t indicate which city Flowers is from.
Rodriguez’s obituary describes him as an “avid musician and artist” who was born in New Jersey.
James Cables said in an email to the newspaper that Rodriguez was a member of the band Luna Scar. The band’s page at ReverbNation — a website designed for independent artists to promote their music — lists Jacob Flowers and Giovanni Rodriguez as Luna Scar’s two members. It is categorized as a metal/sludge/shock rock band from Dalton.
Cables said he first met Rodriguez, whom he calls Gio, at Northwest Whitfield High School about three years ago on a day in which students went to school in Halloween costumes.
“I ended up dressing up as the lead guitarist of the black metal band Immortal, named Abbath,” Cables said. “Well, as soon as I walked into the commons, I saw this tall, skinny guy with the same face paint and long black hair. I went up to the guy and he looked at me, and he started growing a big smile. Next thing we know, we started laughing our tails off at each other due to dressing as the same person but with a major size difference.”
Calling Rodriguez “one of the greatest men on this planet,” Cables said he “will miss him greatly.” He said he wanted to join Luna Scar a couple of years ago, and he tried out for the position of lead guitarist while Rodriguez was on the drums.
“We played music for what felt like days,” Cables said. “The glint in his eye is a glint that you see when a person is truly happy. He showed me one of the songs for Luna Scar and as I played it, I played an improvisational guitar solo. When the notes rang out, his mouth dropped to the floor and (he) only said that I was automatically in the band. It was one of the happiest days of my life because my dream is to be in a world famous band and Gio paved the road for me.”
Rodriguez’s funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.