Michigan firefighter Dennis Rodeman was killed after a truck hit him during an annual fundraiser. Lansing police reportedly believe the driver of the pickup truck intentionally ran over the firefighter who was standing in a roadway collecting money for charity.
Dennis Rodeman had served as a Lansing firefighter for seven years, ABC 7 reports. Mayor Virg Bernero stated that the 35-year-old firefighter died at a local hospital on Wednesday evening. He was wearing a reflective vest and standing in the turn lane in the center of the road and not positioned in the direct line of traffic.
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“This is a shocking and unthinkable tragedy. Dennis was cut down in an instant, doing what he loved, what he believed in, what he believed in most: helping other people,” Mayor Bernero said.
Before becoming a Michigan first responder, Rodeman was a United States Marine who had served in Iraq. He married two months ago and he and his wife were expecting their first child, according to Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro. The fire chief deemed Rodeman’s death a “tremendous loss” and heralded the Michigan firefighter a “joy to work around” and noted his unblemished work history.
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A group of Michigan firefighters were participating in an annual Muscular Dystrophy Association and International Association of Firefighters charity event. Rodeman was struck by the pickup truck around 3:40 p.m.
During an interview with the Lansing State Journal, Lansing Police Captain Jim Kraus said a “traffic altercation” occurred before Dennis Rodeman was hit and killed.
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“The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason [and] circled back around before striking the firefighter,” Captain Kraus stated. “The preliminary investigation is that he deliberately hit the firefighter.”
Driver Tionna Davis told the local media that she saw the pickup truck that hit and killed Rodeman swerve between lanes before hitting the firefighter.
“He literally tried to hit him,” Davis said.
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The pickup fled the scene but was ultimately stopped by police officers. The unidentified 22-year-old driver then fled on foot and initiated a brief chase before being handcuffed and arrested. Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski said the Dennis Rodeman hit-and-run suspect is being held on suspicion of both murder and felony fleeing and eluding charges.
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