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Independence Day

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. 

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.

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