Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 0 months, 20 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 1st District - Central
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Crash - Automobile (Pursuit)
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 11 Nov 1940
Date of Appointment: 19 Mar 1973
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 08 Apr 1974
Date of Interment: 12 Apr 1974
Cemetery: St. Michael Cemetery - Wheaton, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 7, Lot 6, Block 36, Section KK
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 28
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 32-E: 4
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Thomas A. Wodarczyk, Star #10530, aged 33 years, was a 1 year, 0 month, 20 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 1st District – Central.
On April 8, 1974, at 5:55 a.m., Patrolmen William S. Bodnar and Thomas A. Wodarczyk were working the first watch on beat 107. While on patrol they initiated a vehicle pursuit of a stolen white 1964 Oldsmobile traveling Westbound on Van Buren Street from State Street. For 3 minutes and 20 seconds, beat 107 was reporting on the progress of the pursuit and relaying the license number of the car being pursued. Officer Bodnar was driving as Officer Wodarczyk updated the dispatch center. Suddenly the radio traffic from beat 107 went silent and they were not responding. At 5:43 a.m., another officer called in for emergency equipment to be sent to Van Buren and Morgan Streets. The stolen vehicle had sideswiped a produce truck, driven by Frank Scimica of 1462 West Erie Street, causing it to crash into the beat car and fall on top of it, pinning the officers inside. As a result both officers sustained serious injuries. Officers Bodnar and Wodarczyk were both transported to Illinois Research Hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival by at 6:09 a.m. on April 8, 1974.
The truck driver, Frank Scimica, was northbound on Morgan Street, proceeding through the green light. His view of the oncoming squad car was partially blocked by an eight-story building on the Southeast corner of the intersection. The stolen vehicle was later found abandoned a short distance from the crash and the driver was never apprehended.
Officer Wodarczyk was waked at Pomierski Funeral Home located at 1059 West 32nd Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church located at 8237 South Shore Drive. He was laid to rest on April 12, 1974 in St. Michael Cemetery, 1109 Warrenville Road, Wheaton, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 7, Lot 6, Block 36, Section KK.
Patrolman Thomas A. Wodarczyk, born November 11, 1940, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 19, 1973. He earned 1 Police Blue Star Award (posthumously) during his career.
Officer Wodarczyk served in the U.S. Army from October 6, 1958 to February 2, 1961 stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, was a veteran of the Korean War and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Specialist 4th Class. He was also a member of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Association, Illinois Police Association and St. Jude Police League. Officer Wodarczyk was survived by his wife, Patricia A. (nee Thorn); children: Mark Allen, age 7, Anita Marie, age 6 and David, age 4; mother, Clara C. (nee Witkowski) and siblings: Sandra, James, Nancy and Sigmund. He was preceded in death by his father, Alexander.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #P802615.
On June 27, 2007, Officer Wodarczyk’s star was retired by Superintendent Philip J. Cline and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.