Victim, motorist identified in fatal Concord bike crash

  • Patrick Bettens —Courtesy

  • Patrick Bettens (right) with his cousin Billy Bettens. —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 9/6/2018 4:04:01 PM

There was nothing Patrick Bettens couldn’t do.

The Concord father of two boys was known for his drive, second only to his love of his family, said Billy Bettens. An athlete by nature, he gave everything – his competitions, his parenting, his job as a corrections officer at the state prison in Concord – his best shot.

“When he found something he enjoyed, he’d work really hard,” Bettens said of his cousin Patrick. “He wouldn’t be the best, but he’d be good at it, you know what I mean?”

Patrick Bettens, 41, of Concord died Wednesday afternoon after he was struck by a van while riding his bicycle on North Main Street.

He was pronounced dead at Concord Hospital after a 2002 Honda Odyssey driven by Jessica Warren of Concord struck him from behind while he was navigating around a UPS truck parked in the bike lane, said Concord police Lt. Sean Ford. Bettens was traveling north on North State Street when the crash occurred.

Joseph Noonan, who works in Concord, told the Monitor on Wednesday that Bettens was traveling toward Penacook when he veered a bit out of its designated lane to pass a UPS truck that was parked to make a delivery. As Noonan slowed down in anticipation of approaching the area, he said he witnessed the van in front of him nearly side-swipe the UPS truck and jump a bit into the air as if it had hit a “speed bump.”

After colliding with the bike, the van went up onto the curb and then back into the road and then struck another vehicle going southbound, Ford said. 

 Billy Bettens said Patrick was out training for a competition when he was struck.

“He had a busy work life, but he always found time to do what he loved,” Bettens said.

Both Bettens grew up in Muskegon, Mich. without fathers, Bettens said. Because his mother worked a lot as a bartender, Bettens said Patrick’s mother often watched him – and his cousin became like a father and older brother to him.

“I didn’t smoke or drink or anything like that growing up, because I wanted to be like him,” he said.

Bettens said Patrick Bettens joined the Army after high school, where he met his long-time girlfriend. It was love that caused Patrick to move out to New Hampshire, Bettens said; and even when the two split up, Patrick Bettens stayed out east rather than returning home to be with his sons, Travis and Colby.

“He made sure they had the best of everything,” he said. 

But Patrick Bettens was always close to his family, Bettens said, particularly his younger sister, Elizabeth Bettens. When she died in a 1994 car crash – “a freak accident, just like this one,” Bettens said – he was never the same.

Even after moving away, the two cousins remained close, often talking on the phone. Bettens recalled being delighted when Patrick managed to find time to fly out west to attend his wedding. 

“He would always say ‘I love you Billy, you’re like a brother to me,’” Bettens said. “He was just a great man, he touched a lot of hearts.”

When they had the time, the two cousins would try to visit, usually taking in a sports game while catching up. It had been a while since the two saw each other, but Bettens said he’d had plans to fix that; he and his wife recently split up, and Bettens was considering moving out to New Hampshire to be with Patrick.

“I wish I had made it in time to see him,” he said. 

Others who worked with Patrick Bettens described him as someone with a great personality, who was always smiling and greeting others.

“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,” wrote corrections corporal David Burris in a Facebook message. “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!”

Bettens, a sergeant, was also honored by his employer on their Facebook page. “Pat was a longtime employee and a tremendous asset to this Department,” the post read. “He will be greatly missed by all. Our continued thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Ford said the crash is still under investigation, and could not say whether the driver will face any criminal charges.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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