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Man charged in death of Lanesboro resident

PRESTON — An Illinois man will make his first court appearance later this month after being charged in a crash that took the life of a Lanesboro man last summer.

Thomas Loyd Rodts, 64, of Albany, Ill., is scheduled to appear Feb. 23 in Fillmore County District Court, where he's been charged with criminal vehicular homicide, a felony. Rodts also faces misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, careless driving, drug possession and failure to yield right of way, as well as petty misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving at a speed greater than reasonable.

The charges stem from a crash at about 4 p.m. July 29 at a rural intersection between Lanesboro and Fountain.

According to the crash reconstruction report, Rodts was westbound on Fillmore County Road 8 when he tried to turn left onto Fillmore County Road 17 in front of motorcyclist Robert Petrillo, who was eastbound on County Road 8.

Petrillo, 61, braked, then laid the motorcycle down. According to the criminal complaint, Rodts ran over Petrillo, who died at the scene.


Rodts voluntarily performed a preliminary breath test, which registered .000, and passed field sobriety tests at the crash site.

He allegedly told officers he didn't see Petrillo until the motorcycle was sliding toward his truck. The three passengers in Rodts' vehicle also told investigators they hadn't seen the motorcycle approaching, and said Rodts hadn't been distracted prior to the crash.

But another officer found two pipes inside Rodts' truck, which smelled like marijuana, the complaint says. All four occupants denied knowing anything about the pipes, then the officer allegedly caught Rodts' wife, Linda, dumping marijuana out of a bag into the ditch at the side of the road.

According to the officers' reports, further searches of Rodts' vehicle and Linda Rodts' purse revealed a jar with marijuana inside, three used smoking pipes, a small plastic cylinder container with marijuana inside, a plastic prescription bottle with marijuana and an unlabeled prescription bottle with unmarked pills. A total of 17.3 grams of marijuana were found in the purse, the complaint says.

Linda Rodts allegedly told officials the pills were her prescribed Xanax. No other charges have been filed in the incident.

The vehicular homicide charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both.

Petrillo worked for IBM in Rochester as an advisory programmer/engineer. He enjoyed playing music, riding his motorcycle and was very active in the community. He was a deacon at his church and volunteered as a sound technician for the Lanesboro Community Theater.

He's survived by four children, seven grandchildren and two sisters.

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