South Side man placed on electronic monitoring after accident that claimed life of off-duty cop

SHARE South Side man placed on electronic monitoring after accident that claimed life of off-duty cop

A Cook County Juvenile Detention Center employee was placed on electronic monitoring Wednesday for allegedly causing a deadly accident that claimed the life of an off-duty Chicago Police officer over the summer.

Dennis Anderson, 51, was initially cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and improper lane usage for the wreck on July 20 on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

But after additional investigations revealed that Tito M. Rodriguez Jr. was killed when Anderson tried to make an illegal exit at 71st Street, Anderson was charged with reckless homicide, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Mack said.

Anderson was traveling south in the express lanes in his red Pontiac G5 with his sons, ages 13 and 16, when he swerved into Rodriguez’s lane that afternoon, Mack said.

Rodriguez, 28, was on his motorcycle in the local lanes with his friends and co-workers riding behind him.

The off-duty cop tried to hit his brakes in an effort to stop the collision after Anderson crossed a solid line and a median separating the local and express lanes.

But the motorcycle hit Anderson’s car, causing Rodriguez to be thrown off his motorcycle and into the air before he landed on the pavement, Mack said.

Illinois State Police who arrived on the scene asked Anderson to submit to blood and urine testing but he allegedly refused.

An autopsy performed on Rodriguez indicated he died of multiple injuries, including skull, rib and extremity fractures, Mack said.

Anderson’s license was suspended as a result of the accident.

He received supervision for failing to stop at a stop sign in Blue Island in 2013 and was convicted for speeding in downstate Alexander County just weeks before Rodriguez’s death.

Anderson’s attorney, Robert Willis, said his client — a married father of six —  is a janitorial supervisor in the linen department at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.

Anderson, of the 8500 block of Michigan Avenue, is also a chairman at a Local School Council and basketball coach at the Beasley Elementary School and Morgan Park High School, Willis said.

Rodriguez had been with the Chicago Police Department since May 2013.

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