Deputy Killed During Charity Ride

Deputy killed during charity ride

December 6, 2004

BY MAUREEN O'DONNELL Staff Reporter for The Chicago Sun Times.

A DuPage County sheriff's deputy "doing a great thing'' was killed Sunday when his motorcycle was hit by a car as he rode with thousands of other cyclists in the Toys for Tots parade in Chicago.

Frank J. Griseto, 55, a correctional officer at the DuPage County Jail, was always doing charitable deeds, according to friends and neighbors.

"Someone doing a great thing,'' was how Sheriff John Zaruba described him. "He was a great officer."

The driver of the car that struck Griseto, Arcirio Rodriguez, 74, was critically injured. The accident occurred at Cornelia and Western about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Chicago Police said.

Rodriguez was driving a Camry westbound on Cornelia as it entered Western.

"Western Avenue [and the parade] obviously had the right of way,'' said Major Accident Investigation Unit Sgt. Mary O'Toole.

Rodriguez struck Griseto as he tried crossing the northbound lanes of Western in order to go left and head south, O'Toole said.

Griseto, of Downers Grove, was pronounced dead at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, said Officer Patrice Harper of Chicago Police news affairs.

Rodriguez, of the 600 block of North Schiller, has a clean driving record, according to Beth Kaufman of the Illinois secretary of state's office. Rodriguez was also taken to Masonic, where he was in critical condition Sunday night.

'Valued employee'

Griseto had worked for the DuPage County sheriff's office for slightly more than a year.

"He has been a valued employee,'' said Carol Roegner, an aide to Zaruba.

Neighbors said Griseto was looking forward to the Toys for Tots ride, in which an estimated 20,000 motorcyclists parade down Western the first Sunday of each December to deliver toys for needy kids to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. The parade begins at Dan Ryan Woods at 83rd and Western and ends at the 4th Marine Corps Center at Foster and Troy.

Griseto always enjoyed the ride, said a neighbor, Philip Maloney, of the 6400 block of Blodgett in Downers Grove.

"He was warming up his motorcycle in the driveway [Saturday]'' in anticipation of the parade, said another neighbor, Robert Nesnidal.

Griseto and his wife, Gloria, were well-regarded, they said.

"He was always helping people, volunteering,'' said Nesnidal.

A health buff, Griseto used to work at a fitness facility and enjoyed weightlifting, he said.

"Any time you had a problem or anything, he would help,'' Maloney said. "He was terrific.''

Griseto liked traveling to Italy, according to Nesnidal. The Grisetos didn't have children, and "the dogs were his family,'' he added. Griseto often brought his mother home to visit, and he loved to cook in his gourmet kitchen.

Rodriguez has worked 15 years as a caretaker at a coin laundry at Lawrence and Damen and is a "wonderful'' employee, said his boss, who asked not to be named.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-tots06.html
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George Obradovich
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