Concord, NH – New Hampshire Department of Corrections Sergeant Patrick Bettens was fatally struck by a vehicle on Sep. 5 as he was riding his bicycle in preparation for a triathlon.
Sgt. Bettens, 41, was bicycling on North Main Street when he veered around a parked UPS truck that was out making a delivery, the Concord Monitor reported.
Jessica Warren, 41, was driving her 2002 Honda Odyssey behind Sgt. Bettens, and nearly side-swiped the UPS truck before her vehicle jumped as if she had hit a “speed bump,” explained Joseph Noonan, who was traveling behind Warren at the time of the crash.
Warren’s van struck Sgt. Bettens, then traveled up onto a curb before it collided with another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, Noonan told the Concord Monitor.
“It is with our deepest regret and sorrow that we have to announce the loss of one of our own, Sgt. Patrick Bettens," the New Hampshire DOC said in a Facebook post on Sep. 6. “Pat was a long-time employee and a tremendous asset to this Department. He will be greatly missed by all. Our continued thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
The crash remains under investigation, and no arrests have been made, the Concord Monitor reported.
Sgt. Bettens, a U.S. Army veteran, was a valued employee at the New Hampshire State Prison, where he served for many years.
“We at the DOC are grieving severely for the loss of our brother-in-blue and we all have been thinking of his two sons over the last 24+ hours now and we hope to pay tribute to Pat by helping them,” DOC Corrections Corporal David Burris in a Facebook message, according to the news outlet. “It’s been a hard day at the prison and a surreal feeling for us that we won’t be seeing him walk through there again!”
DOC Investigator James Azzara described Sgt. Bettens as “smiley” and “energetic,” WMUR reported.
“[He] had a zest for life,” Investigator Azzara explained. “That type of smile, that type of brightness, kind of rubbed off on everybody else that we have here.”
Retired DOC Captain Ron Greenwood said he and Sgt. Bettens trained for triathlons approximately four days each week.
“The department lost one of its best and I'll miss him as a great friend," Capt. Greenwood told WMUR. “I don't think I've ever had such a close relationship. But he'd tell me he loved me every time he saw me.”
Sgt. Bettens’ cousin, Billy Bettens, described having the same close bond.
"He would always say ‘I love you, Billy. You’re like a brother to me,’” Billy told the Concord Monitor. “He was just a great man. He touched a lot of hearts.”
“Our Department is hurting right now, not only for the loss of our brother but for his family and friends and all who loved him,” the DOC wrote in a Facebook post. “Your pain is our pain.”
Sgt. Bettens was a single father to two sons, 14-year-old Colby, and 16-year-old Travis, according to a fundraising page established to help provide a college fund for the boys.
“Your generosity proves how many lives Sgt. Bettens has touched, and we’re honored that when his boys go off to college, they’ll know just how amazing their father was,” the fundraising page read.
In addition to his sons, Sgt. Bettens also leaves behind his mother, Patricia, and his boys’ mother, Bonnie Scott, according to his obituary.
Sgt. Bettens was laid to rest on Sep. 14.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New Hampshire Department of Corrections Sergeant Patrick Bettens, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.