Firefighter of 37 Years Killed by Suspected Drunken Driver Week Before Retirement - NBC Southern California

Firefighter of 37 Years Killed by Suspected Drunken Driver Week Before Retirement

"We met the week before my senior year in high school," said Cyndi Lodarski, David’s wife.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Colton Firefighter Killed by Drunk Driver

    A veteran Colton firefighter was killed and his paramedic son injured by a drunk driver. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2015. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015)

    A firefighter of 37 years, hero to his family and the Colton community, was tragically killed after a suspected drunken driver slammed into his ATV.

    David Lodarski, a father of two, was inspired by his father to become a firefighter.

    His son is following in his footsteps to carry on the tradition to become a firefighter as well.

    Now David's wife is devastated by the loss of her husband.

    "We met the week before my senior year in high school," said Cyndi Lodarski, David’s wife. "The only man I ever dated – the only guy that asked me out."

    Lodarski was a captain for 25 years, and set to retire a week before he was hit by a suspected drunken driver.

    He and his son Hunter were going to go off-roading, and started driving down Reche Canyon Road.

    Surveillance video shows the ATV’s headlights as a vehicle strikes it from behind, sending Lodarksi and his ATV tumbling toward oncoming cars.

    Kevin Paul Diehl was accused of being the driver behind the wheel.

    "I just hope the guy gets what's coming to him," Lodarksi’s son Hunter said.

    Neighbors said the road is a speed zone, and it is a huge problem.

    "This road is eating residents alive. It's taking lives. It’s shattering families,” said Kay Bruno, who lives nearby.

    Neighbors said they want more officer patrols, while Cyndi wants people to stop drinking and driving.

    "Him not knowing his grandchildren and teaching him what he taught his sons – it’s difficult," Cyndi said. “But we will keep him alive because of who he was."

    Diehl faces felony charges including vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing death.  

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