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Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FINALIZED FOR VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PILOTS

RICHMOND, Va. – Funeral arrangements have been finalized for Virginia State Police Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who died in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County on the afternoon of August 12, 2017:

TROOPER-PILOT BERKE M.M. BATES

Visitation:Thursday, August 17, 2017

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Nelson Funeral Home at 4650 South Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23231

Funeral:Friday, August 18, 2017

11:00 a.m.

Saint Paul’s Baptist Church at 4247 Creighton Road, Richmond, VA 23223

The interment will be a private graveside service.

LIEUTENANT H. JAY CULLEN

Visitation:Friday, August 18, 2017

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Bennett Funeral Home at 14301 Ashbrook Parkway, Chesterfield, VA 23832

Funeral:Saturday, August 19, 2017

10:00 a.m.

Southside Church of the Nazarene at 6851 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832

The interment will be a private graveside service.

For those wishing to support the Cullen and/or Bates families financially, contributions are being accepted through the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA) (www.vspa.org) Emergency Relief Fund (ERF). Monetary donations can be made by check (made payable to VSPA-ERF with “Jay Cullen” and/or “Berke Bates” noted in the memo) or Citizens may also donate through PayPal by visiting  http://vspa.org/initiatives/emergency-relief-fund.  When donating through PayPal please be sure to note the donation is for "Lt. Cullen and/or Tpr. Bates" in the comment section. Checks can be mailed to the VSPA ERF at 6944 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, VA 23225. All donations to the VSPA-ERF are tax deductible, and 100% of the donation goes to the families. For any additional questions, please contact the VSPA at 804-320-6272.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE MOURNS DEATH OF TWO PILOTS

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia State Police is mourning the loss of its 64th and 65th members to die in the line of duty since 1932. Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, died last Saturday (Aug. 12, 2017) when the helicopter they were piloting crashed in Albemarle County. Funeral arrangements for both are still pending at this time.

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen (1969 – 2017)

Lieutenant Cullen was born in Winchester County, N.Y., and graduated from Germantown High School in Memphis, Tenn., in 1987. Prior to joining the Virginia State Police in 1993, he worked as a flight instructor in Front Royal, Va. and Winchester, Va. He held a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

He graduated from the Virginia State Police Training Academy as a member of the 90th Basic Session on May 13, 1994. His first patrol assignment upon graduation was in Virginia State Police Fairfax Division’s Area 9 Office in Fairfax. In 1999, he joined the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Manassas and has been assigned to Aviation Unit ever since.

The following year he was transferred to the Lynchburg Aviation Base, where in 2003 he achieved the rank of Senior Trooper. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2005 and assumed his new role at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Chesterfield County.

In 2007, he was named acting First Sergeant at the Chesterfield base. He was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant in 2012 and then became acting Lieutenant at the base that December.

He is a 2014 graduate of the National Criminal Justice Command College at the University of Virginia. In February 2017, he attained the rank of Lieutenant and became commander of the Aviation Unit. 

Lt. Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 17 and 15.

Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (1976 – 2017)    

Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994. He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Less than a year later he became a member of the office’s Motors Unit, serving as a motorcycle trooper until 2013. He joined the Governor’s protection detail, known as the State Police Executive Protective Unit, in October 2013 and served with the unit for three years before accepting promotion to Special Agent with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office General Investigations Section. In July 2017, he became a Trooper-Pilot with the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit.

Trooper Bates is survived by his wife and twin 12-year-old son and daughter.

Fatal Helicopter Crash in Albemarle County

At 4:51 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 12, 2017), a Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County.  The helicopter was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville.

The pilot, Lt. Cullen of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the state police are investigating the cause of the fatal helicopter crash in Albemarle County. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also investigating the incident.

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