Sgt. Ben Bertram of the Charlestown Police Department died in a high-speed crash Wednesday night when he lost control of his patrol car while chasing a suspect, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing a vehicle, WLKY reported.
But hours before he got involved in the chase which cost him his life, Bertram had been spending his Wednesday evening shopping for a group of local first-graders in his community at his town’s annual Christmas with a Cop event.
“I think he liked the camaraderie of just being with the department and seeing the smile on those kids’ faces,” Charlestown Officer Adam Clark, who organized the event, told WLKY.
Clark said Bertram had not missed the annual event once in his nine years on the force.
“He brightened the room as soon as he came in,” Clark added. “He was interacting with everybody, making jokes, making people laugh. That is what I’ll remember; those are my best memories.”
The 33-year-old served as a K9 officer and was active at many community events.
A funeral will be held for Bertram on Tuesday.