Independence Day

2019 INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY PROVES DEADLY & DANGEROUS FOR VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS

Seven Traffic Fatalities; 79 DUI Arrests During July 4th Statistical Period

RICHMOND – Unfortunately, thousands of drunk, speeding and reckless drivers kept Virginia State Police busy and put countless lives at risk during the 2019 July 4th holiday weekend across the Commonwealth. Preliminary reports indicate seven people died in six traffic crashes during the holiday statistical counting period that began at 12:01 a.m. July 3, 2019 and concluded at midnight July 5, 2019.

The six fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Highland, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Nelson, Pittsylvania and Spotsylvania. The Spotsylvania County crash on July 5 resulted in two deaths. Altogether, the crashes claimed the lives of four drivers and three passengers. Four of the deceased were not wearing seat belts.

“Recognizing the potential for more holiday travelers and festivities with July 4th falling on a Thursday this year, we made certain to have every available trooper working Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Even though state police did its part to enhance its response times and traffic safety enforcement efforts, too many motorists still put their lives and others at risk during the holiday weekend by failing to drive smart, safe or sober.”

During the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort’s (C.A.R.E.) three-day statistical counting period, Virginia troopers arrested 79 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 5,389 speeders and 1,752 reckless drivers, issued 723 citations for individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. During the holiday statistical counting period, Virginia State Police responded to a total 548 traffic crashes statewide and assisted 1,791 disabled/stranded motorists. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

“We are at the height of the summer travel season, which is why we need every Virginian committed to being a safe, responsible driver. Please put as much attention into driving, buckling up and complying with speed limits as you do with planning the summer getaway. You and your family’s safety depend on it,” said Colonel Settle.

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VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES MOTORISTS TO CELEBRATE SMART, SAFE & SOBER DURING HOLIDAY CELEBRATING RED, WHITE & BLUE

RICHMOND – With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, many Virginians are planning ahead for a long holiday weekend. Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to also think ahead for their celebratory travel plans. Last week, state police joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving and local law enforcement to launch a series of new Public Service Announcements (PSA) to remind motorists that drunk driving kills: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCffVSEnfXOSmv5hEqUYDNfg.

 

“Virginia may have experienced fewer alcohol-related crashes in 2018, but those fewer crashes proved more dangerous and deadlier,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Last year in Virginia, alcohol-related fatalities increased by 12.1% in comparison to 2017. Thirty more people died and 45 more people were injured in traffic crashes due to alcohol on Virginia’s highways in 2018. That translates to 278 deaths and 4,475 injuries because of someone’s reckless decision to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”

 

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (July 3, 2019) through midnight Friday (July 5, 2019) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

 

During last year’s two-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 42 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 4,911 speeders and 1,251 reckless drivers, issued 114 citations for child seat violations, and cited 433 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up.

 

If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely.  Party hosts are encouraged to serve guests non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.

  

With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

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TRAFFIC DEATHS INCREASE OVER 2017 FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND

Four killed were not wearing seat belts

RICHMOND – Fatal crash numbers rose during this year’s Fourth of July weekend, and nearly half of the motorists killed in those crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of nine drivers and passengers died in as many traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. Last year, traffic crashes claimed a total of eight lives on Virginia highways.

The nine fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Norfolk and the counties of Amherst, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Henrico, Montgomery, Orange, Rockingham and Surry. State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 671 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period.

Of the six passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, four of those killed were not wearing seat belts. Separate crashes in Norfolk and Fairfax County took the lives of two pedestrians attempting to cross the street. In Rockingham County, a motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was killed in a head-on collision with drunk driver.

“Sadly, the number of fatalities on our highways increased this year during the holiday, which is unacceptable,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “A moment is all that it takes for a crash to occur, but taking a moment before you drive to put on your seat belt or your helmet, to put the phone down or to make the decision not to drive drunk or drugged could save a life. When we get behind the wheel, we all need to do our part to make our travels as safe as possible.” 

Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) over the holiday weekend, which is a traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and concluded Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like the Fourth of July.

The 2017 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 10,238 speeders and 2,677 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 992 safety belt violations and 308 child restraint violations. A total of 114 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

Although “Move Over” Awareness Month came to a close in June, Virginia State Police continued to emphasize the importance of the “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching emergency vehicles stopped along the roadside. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass emergency vehicles with active blue, red or amber flashing lights. 

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement. 

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General Assembly Commends the Wrenn Family on 50th Annual Independence Day Celebration

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 883


Offered February 6, 2017

Commending the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration.

WHEREAS, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration has been an institution in the Emporia community for 50 years; and

WHEREAS, on July 4, 1968, Robert C. Wrenn and Ann W. Wrenn, along with their children, Randi and Bob, hosted their first neighborhood Fourth of July celebration at their home on 304 Church Street to promote patriotism and an appreciation for American history; and

WHEREAS, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration starts with a ride on a city fire truck for anyone who wants to participate and features group sing-alongs of patriotic songs; Steven Walker, the Mayor of Charlotte Courthouse, provides a history of the Declaration of Independence while dressed in authentic Colonial garb, and every child in attendance receives an American flag; and

WHEREAS, at the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration, everyone joins in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag that has flown over the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church of Emporia, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Monticello, the Capitol of Colonial Williamsburg, the Virginia State Capitol, and the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.; and

WHEREAS, after 50 years, the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration is still going strong, with Randi Kei and Bob Wrenn now joined by their spouses, Kevin Kei and Jeannette Arnold Wrenn, in organizing this beloved local tradition; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend the Wrenn family Fourth of July celebration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the Wrenn family as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for its contributions to the Emporia community.

Junior

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