ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- A bicyclist struck and killed in Rosemount on Monday, Oct. 25, was a newly installed Burnsville priest, and authorities said the motorist who hit him had been previously convicted nine times for driving without a license.
Police said that Dennis Keith Dempsey, 73, was riding his bicycle on the shoulder of Dakota County Road 42 when he was fatally struck Monday afternoon.
According to a Tuesday post on its Facebook page, the Church of the Risen Savior in Burnsville said that Dempsey, who served the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for 41 years, was the new parish priest there.
“We learned Monday evening that Father Denny Dempsey had been riding his bike in Rosemount, as he so loved to do. He was struck by a motor vehicle and did not survive the impact,” the post said.
Rosemount Police Chief Mikael Dahlstrom said Dempsey’s death was especially difficult for the police department to handle because the priest had baptized the children of a several staff members, including one of the officers who responded to the scene of the collision.
“It’s a tragic story,” Dahlstrom said. “He’s very well connected and had done a lot of charity work in this area.”
The chief said that Dempsey and the driver who struck him were both traveling westbound on County Road 42 (145th Street) near Auburn Avenue in Rosemount when the 3:30 p.m. collision occurred.
Dempsey was riding his bike on the far shoulder of the road when he was hit, Dahlstrom said.
The driver, Trejean Derrell Curry, 26, was detained and formally arrested Monday night and is being held without bail in the Dakota County Jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide.
Curry has been convicted nine times for driving without a license, Minnesota court records show. His license is currently revoked, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Curry’s most recent conviction was Sept. 21 for driving 100 mph in a 70-mph zone. His license had been revoked in July in Alexandria, Minnesota. At the time, he listed a Minneapolis address. He owed $515 in the case as of Tuesday, according to a court record.
Dempsey had been at the Church of the Risen Savior since July. Before that, he spent 15 years at the Church of St. Dominic in Northfield.
The Church of the Risen Savior had planned an event this weekend to welcome Dempsey as their new priest.
“A previously planned welcome event for Father Denny this coming weekend, October 30 & 31, will shift to an opportunity for us to gather and remember our beloved pastor,” the church’s Facebook post said, noting that Twin Cities Archbishop Bernard Hebda was working to find an interim pastor for the church.
In a Tuesday post on its Facebook page, St. Dominic’s shared the news of Dempsey’s death and said, “We know this news will be devastating to many who know and so loved him. Our hearts are broken.”