A 35-year-old Lansing, Michigan, newlywed firefighter, who was expecting his first child, was allegedly intentionally struck by a 22-year-old driver in a hit-and-run accident, causing the firefighter’s death Wednesday night.
Dennis Rodeman, a Marine who served in Iraq and later served in the Lansing Fire Department for seven years, was collecting funds for the annual “Fill the Boot” fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters when he was hit. Rodeman, who had only been married for two months, was wearing a reflective vest in the center-turning lane of the road when a pickup truck hit him.
Lansing Police Capt. Jim Kraus told the Lansing State Journal that a “traffic altercation” may have triggered the incident. He added, “The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason (and) circled back around… The preliminary investigation is that he deliberately hit the firefighter.” Police stated that the suspect fled in his truck, later stopping to flee on foot before police captured him and held him on suspicion of murder and felony fleeing and eluding.
Mayor Virg Bernero said, “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.”
One witness, Tionna Davis, said she saw the pickup swerve from one lane to another before striking Rodeman. She added, “He literally tried to hit him… He could have went around.”
Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said Rodeman had an “unblemished” work record, adding, “He was a joy to work around.”