Pedestrian struck, killed by vehicle in Roseville

Off-duty police officer, bystanders attempted to revive Roseville resident Charles R. Betts

A Roseville man was hit and killed by a vehicle just before dawn on Monday, July 14.

Around 5:10 a.m. about a half an hour before the 5:39 a.m. sunrise, witnesses reported Charles R. Betts, 79, “suddenly” ran across Snelling Avenue at County Road B near Har Mar Mall, according to a release from the Roseville Police Department.

A Nissan Pathfinder SUV travelling southbound at about 45 miles per hour on Snelling Avenue was approaching a green light when the vehicle struck Betts as he was crossing the thoroughfare against the light. It’s unclear if Betts was in the crosswalk.

As fate would have it, off-duty Roseville police officer Michael Parkos was on the way to his 6 a.m. shift at the police department and happened upon the scene just moments after the incident occurred. Parkos and other bystanders attempted to give medical aid to Betts, who was then transported to Regions Hospital where he died from the injuries he sustained.

Parkos, who has worked for Roseville for 19 years, said that he usually doesn't take that route to work; construction on Interstate 35E re-routed him to Snelling Avenue.

It was still dark when Parkos arrived on the scene, he said, and there wasn't much that could be done for Betts by the time he got there. "When I first got there, some people were directing traffic and [Betts] was lying in the middle of the roadway," he said. "After I made sure someone was on the phone with 911, checking on the pedestrian was my first priority."

Betts was unconscious and unresponsive, Parkos said, and was having trouble breathing. "There was not a lot I could do," he said.

A Roseville squad car arrived around three minutes later, with the Roseville Fire Department right behind. An ambulance arrived about seven or eight minutes later, he added.

The 39-year-old driver of the SUV, a man from St. Paul, was questioned and released by police. “There is no indication speed or driver impairment was a contributing factor to this crash,” a police statement says. Additionally, the release says, the motorist has been cooperating with police, and his vehicle has been transported to the Roseville Police Department for inspection, “which is common protocol during these types of investigations.”

Lt. Lorne Rosand said Betts’ family told police he often ate breakfast at the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery on County Road B and may have been on his way home when he was struck.

Betts has an interesting family lineage. According to a family member, it can be traced back to Richard Betts, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean from England to Massachusetts in 1648.

The Roseville Police Department and State Patrol are continuing the investigation.

— Johanna Holub


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