South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Nick Pye told UPI on Friday that the accident occurred at 9:35 EDT the night before on Clemson Road near Old Clemson Road. The Richland County coroner's office confirmed that Patten was the driver of the motorcycle.
Patten was driving his 2006 Kawasaki westbound when he went left of center and struck a sedan headed the opposite direction, police said. The sedan then sideswiped a van.
A total of four people were involved in the collision. Two were not hurt, while the passenger of the sedan was taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
"We are working with the South Carolina Highway Patrol to fully investigate this accident," Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said.
Patten played 12 NFL seasons from 1997 through 2008. The former Lower Richland High School standout entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Western Carolina.
Patten won championships in three of his four years with the franchise. He spent the final four seasons of his career with the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints.
Patten finished his degree at Western Carolina upon retirement from the NFL. He also worked on the school's football coaching staff later served as a minister and motivational speaker.
"It breaks my heart to hear of David's tragic passing at such a young age," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday in a news release. "I am grateful to have coached David.
"He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions. I especially appreciate David for his professional journey.
"As much as anyone, David epitomized the unheralded, self-made player who defied enormous odds to not only earn a job in the NFL, but to become a key player on multiple championship teams.
"I can speak for anyone who had the pleasure to be around David that his work ethic, positive energy and character were elite. My deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones."
Patten scored the only offensive touchdown the Patriots scored in their first Super Bowl victory in 2002, on an 8-yard pass from Tom Brady against the St. Louis Rams. He finished his career with 324 catches for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns.