By Steven Graves


JOLIET (CBS) — Passionate, loyal and happy.

That’s how people describe Dennis Ledenbach, a staple of the Joliet community for more than 20 years.

Now his untimely death by a hit and run driver has his friends fighting for justice.

CBS 2’s Steven Graves spoke to them today.

Ledenbach was an avid “Star Wars” and Chicago Bears fan with a love for life.

“He was a character. Definitely a character,” said Nick Skiadopoulos, manager of Anthony’s –the bar where Dennis gathered with his friends.

“He appreciated the slightest little thing you would do for him,” said friend, Luke Scaccianoce.

He was a familiar face at Anthony’s Restaurant and Pub in Joliet.

He made it his new spot when a bar across the street closed.

Almost every weekend, he would take to his bike to Anthony’s for company.

“He was just trying to fit in and just be with people. And be happy,” said friend, Bill Burkhart.

This past Monday morning, Ledenbac was on his bike, near home on Plainfield Road in Crest Hill.

A driver hit and left him for dead. He was all alone.

He held on to life for some days in the hospital but later died.

These friends pulled for Dennis every minute.

He didn’t have family in the area. He lived by himself. These were his people. People who now say they are going to look out for him now more than ever.

That’s why they’re raising money for a funeral.

Anything left over goes to a reward fund to encourage someone to speak up.

“I just figured the only way somebody is going to step forward is how they know just what a loss he was to the people that knew him,” said Burkhart.

Will County Crime Stoppers is offering up to five thousand dollars for tips that lead to an arrest.