Services scheduled for local deputy who died unexpectedly

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 9:40 AM CDT
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Services have been scheduled for Bell County sheriff’s Sgt. Robert L. Pettigrew, 59, who died of a heart attack Monday at his home in Lampasas County.

News of his death came as the department was reeling from the loss of Deputy John Andrew Rhoden, 31, who was killed at around 1:45 a.m. Sunday when an 18-wheeler struck him on Interstate 35 in Temple as he placed spike strips to try to stop a driver whom Williamson County deputies were pursuing.

In fact Pettigrew, who was at home recovering from recent surgery, had called the department to offer to return early after he learned of Rhoden’s death.

Visitation is from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Christ at 306 West Avenue E in Copperas Cove.

The funeral service is at 10 a.m. next Tuesday at the church.

Seating will be limited to family members, close friends and colleagues.

The service will be streamed.

Burial follows at Copperas Cove Cemetery at 415 East Avenue A in Copperas Cove.

Pettigrew marked his 27th anniversary with the department in March.

He worked as a correctional officer a deputy, served as the departments DARE officer and later was promoted to operations sergeant.

“Please help us by keeping the Pettigrew family and the Rhoden family in your thoughts and prayers during this very trying time. Our hearts go out to both families,” sheriff’s Lt. Robert Reinhard said in a press release Monday.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department has parked the patrol unit of Deputy John Rhoden, who died early Sunday when he was struck on I-35 while placing stop strips, on the sidewalk beneath the U.S. and Texas flags in front of the department at 104 South Main St. in Belton as a memorial to Rhoden and Sgt. Robert Pettigrew.
The department also has a Memorial Foundation set up to help first responders in time of need.  Donations may be made in the lobby of the department or mailed to: Bell County Sheriff’s Department Memorial Foundation, PO Box 1563 Belton, TX 76513