Hundreds attend wake for retired officer killed on bike

Donna Briggs was training for a charity bike ride when she was struck

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Some knew Donna Briggs from her days as a police officer, some knew her from kickboxing, to others, she was their massage therapist.

However, they had come to know the 59-year-old Derry resident, killed last week in an alleged hit-and-run accident while bike riding, their seemed consensus on one thing, as summarised by a long-time former co-worker named Lisa:

“She was just a beautiful soul.”

Sunday, hundreds came to calling hours at a funeral home across from Londonderry High School where, just over a hill, a schoolboy football game was going on.

“Just an honor to have known her and Hudson is fortunate to have had her as a police officer for 20 years,” said Hudson Selectman Bob Gussferd, who said he had a personal connection with the former police sergeant.

“I met Donna a very, very long time ago in her role as a police officer,” Gussferd said. “She was responding to a call at my house. It was my first interaction with her. I’ll just say she made a profound impact on my life and the life of my family.”

Lisa, the former co-worker, said Briggs was the only female police officer on the Hudson force at the time -- and characterized her as tough but kind.

“She was all about just helping,” she said. “And just a really beautiful person who touched, I think a lot of people as you can see from the amount of people who came here today.”

One of those who came was Briggs’ chiropractor, Dr. Roger Gosselin. He remembers she was once interested in becoming a chiropractor -- then learned what that would entail. Gosselin said he suggested a different career -- and it took off for her.

“I steered her into massage therapy school,” he said. “Just a sweetheart of a girl. Salt of the earth. Everybody loved her. I’m gonna miss you Donna. I’m gonna miss you.”

Craig Sprowl of Dover is charged in Briggs’ death. Police caught up with him in a Portsmouth, NH hotel days after the accident. Police also arrested his wife, Angela, for conduct after an accident.

Briggs leaves behind a husband, four children and two grandchildren.

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