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Virginia State Police

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.

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft program reminds motorists that unsecured vehicles are easy targets

RICHMOND, Va.— Summertime is prime time for auto theft, which is why the Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program is reminding motorists to secure their unattended vehicles.

Of the 9,575 motor vehicle theft offenses in 2016, 3,523 occurred between June and September. For the calendar year, August had the dubious distinction of leading all months with 957 auto theft offenses. July had the second-most offenses with 924. A total of 9,719 motor vehicles were reported stolen in 2016.

First Sgt. Steve Hall, Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program coordinator, said many auto thefts could be avoided if motorists would simply take their keys. Statistics show that nearly one in four vehicles stolen in Virginia have the keys inside.

“That’s a problem,” Hall said. “In addition to taking your keys when you leave your vehicle, don’t leave spare keys in the glove box or elsewhere on the vehicle. Always lock the doors and always close the windows. At night, choose parking spots that are in well-lit and high-traffic areas if you can.”

Drivers should develop good habits and avoid complacency, Hall said, because auto thieves can take a vehicle in just a matter of moments.

“A lot of people think, ‘I’ll only be in the store for a minute, so I’ll just leave the car running,’ ” he said. “Don’t do it. It takes very little time for someone in that situation to jump into your car and drive off.”

Want to beat the summer heat without leaving your vehicle completely vulnerable? Try parking in a garage or shaded area when possible. If no shade is available when parking, block direct sunlight by putting a visor in your windshield or drape a blanket or towel over the dashboard and steering wheel.

“Or give yourself a few extra minutes before your departure so you can stay with your vehicle while you run your air conditioner,” Hall said. “Any of these is a better alternative to potentially having your car stolen.”

Follow HEAT on Facebook (@HEATreward) for summer giveaways and auto theft prevention tips. Upcoming HEAT appearances include a display at AAA’s Summer Car Care Event in Henrico on July 29, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etchings on July 15 (Roanoke); July 29 (Martinsville and Midlothian). Learn more about the HEAT program and VIN-etching events at HEATreward.com.    

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. 

VIRGINIA’S ANNUAL CRIME ANALYSIS REPORT NOW AVAILABLE ON VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WEBSITE

RICHMOND – Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2016 is now available on the Virginia State Police website, under “Forms & Publications.” The detailed document, titled Crime in Virginia, provides precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses by the reporting agency as well as arrests by jurisdiction.

The following 2016 crime figures within Virginia are included in the report:

  • Virginia experienced more than a 10 percent increase in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to 2015 (10.8%). The FBI’s nationwide figures for 2016 are not yet available.
  • The number of reported homicides increased from 382 to 480 or an increase of 25.7 percent. Victims and Offenders tended to be relatively young; 47.5 percent of homicide victims and 63.5 percent of offenders were less than 30 years of age. Victims and offenders were most likely to be male (78.3% and 91.0% respectively).
  • Property crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) overall remain mostly unchanged from the previous year (-.40%). The FBI’s nationwide figures for 2016 are not yet available.
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 18.2 percent compared to the previous year.  Of the 9,719 motor vehicles stolen, 6,049 or 62.2 percent were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, automobiles and trucks had the highest frequency of being recovered (67.8%, 68.0%). Recreational and “other” motor vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, etc.) were least likely to be recovered (50.8%, 40.6%). Four out of 10 (41.5%) of all motor vehicles were reported stolen from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $89,990,458, while the reported value recovered was $53,664,462.
  • Drug and narcotic arrests increased overall compared to the previous reporting period (8.7%). Marijuana was associated with more drug arrests than any other drug. Marijuana arrests increased 10.6 percent compared to the previous reporting period while arrests for heroin, “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine showed an even greater percent increase compared to the previous reporting period (17.1%, 11.1%,19.4%, respectively).
  • Fraud offenses increased by less than one percent compared to 2015 (.85%).
  • Of the 862 arsons and attempted arsons that were reported, half (50.3%) reported the location as “residence/home.”  Neither time of day or day of the week appear to be associated with this offense.
  • Robbery increased 7.6 percent. Of the 4,796 robberies and attempted robberies, one-third (31.8%) took place between 8 pm. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place.
  • Of the weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 75.6 percent of homicides and 57.6 percent of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offenses of aggravated assault (27.8%) and forcible rape (2.2%). 
  • There were 137 hate crimes reported in 2016 representing an 11.6 percent decrease compared to 2015. Over half (57.6%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation and religion were next highest (19.7%, 16.8%, respectively). The remaining 5.8 percent reported was attributed to a bias against a victim’s physical or mental disability. The offense of assault was associated with half (50.4%) of all reported bias-motivated crimes, while destruction/damage/ vandalism of property was associated with 31.4 percent of all reported bias-motivated crimes.        

The report employs an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.

For Group A offenses, between 2015 and 2016, adult arrests increased 3.3 percent. Juvenile arrests for Group A offenses also increased by a similar amount (3.1%). For Group B arrests, there was a decrease of 6.3 percent for adults while juvenile Group B arrests decreased 11.8 percent. For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 282,422 arrests in 2015 compared to 276,144 arrests in 2016, representing an overall decrease of 2.2 percent arrests in Virginia.

Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via a secured internet system. This information is then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public. These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and are sent to the FBI who modifies and incorporates them in their annual report, Crime in the United States.

MOTORISTS URGED TO DRIVE 2 SAVE LIVES THIS JULY 4 HOLIDAY

2017 Summer Travel Season Off to a Deadly Start on Virginia Highways

RICHMOND – With a “record-breaking” number of travelers forecasted for the 2017 Independence Day weekend and the recent rash of fatal crashes in Virginia since the official start of summer, the Virginia State Police is urging all motorists to put traffic safety at the top of their list of holiday priorities. This past weekend, 15 people were killed in traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. Those who lost their lives in traffic crashes June 23-25, 2017, included drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians ranging from 4 months to 74 years of age.

To ensure the Fourth of July holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Saturday, July 1, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2017 July Fourth statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and continues through midnight Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

“Halfway through 2017, there have already been 20 more traffic deaths compared to this date in 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Let’s try to turn this year around and work towards saving lives, beginning with this July Fourth weekend. Traffic crashes and deaths are prevented when drivers and passengers simply follow the rules of the road – this includes never driving impaired, avoiding distractions while driving and always wearing a seatbelt.” 

During the 2016 July Fourth weekend, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers and cited 9,487 speeders and 2,590 reckless drivers. They also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

With increased patrols, state police also remind 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.                  

Previous July 4th Fatality Statistics*:

Year

Fatalities

# of Days

2016

8

4

2015

4

3

2014

11

3

   *Traffic Crash Facts, VA Highway Safety Office, DMV               

Virginia Senior Alert - JEAN HILLMAN STRICKLAND - CANCELLED

UPDATE - Mrs. Strickland has been found safely.

THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE HAVE ISSUED A SENIOR ALERT ON BEHALF OF THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE ON 06/28/17 AT 1816 HOURS.

THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE IS LOOKING FOR JEAN HILLMAN STRICKLAND, WHITE FEMALE, 77 YEARS OLD, 58, 185 LBS, WITH GREEN EYES AND GRAY HAIR.

THE MISSING SENIOR SUFFERS FROM A COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT AND THE DISAPPEARANCE POSES A CREDIBLE THREAT TO HER HEALTH AND SAFETY.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  SHE WAS DRIVING A 2009 GREEN HYUNDAI SANTA FE WITH A VIRGINIA REGISTRATION 3728GD.

PLEASE CONTACT THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE AT 540-582-7115.

YOU MAY FIND COMPLETE INFORMATION AT HTTP://WWW.VASENIORALERT.COM/

VSP Investigating Fatal Brunswick County Crash

Virginia State Police Master Trooper B.L. Tulloh is investigating a two-vehicle crash in Brunswick County. The crash occurred June 24, 2017, at 6:30 a.m., on Route 644 at Route 656.

A 2000 Mitsubishi was traveling south on Route 656. It pulled up to the stop sign, slowed for the stop sign and then slowly pulled into the intersection with Route 644. As the Mitsubishi pulled across Route 644 to make a left turn, it collided with a 2016 Honda traveling east on Route 644. The impact of the crash caused the Honda to run off the road and strike an embankment.

The passenger in the Honda, Laila N. Hawkins-Manning of Brodnax, Va., was seated in an infant seat. The child was not secured in the seat nor was the seat rear-facing, as required by law. The child was ejected from the seat in the crash, but remained inside the vehicle. The 4-month-old child was transported to VCU-CMH in South Hill, Va., where she succumbed to her injuries.

The driver of the Honda, Stephanie N. Hawkins, 31, of Brodnax, Va., was not injured in the crash. After consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Hawkins was charged with failure to secure a child under 8 years of age.

The driver of the Mitsubishi, Chavioleyette S. Lambert, 34, of LaCrosse, Va., was not injured in the crash. After consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, she was charged with failure to stop at a stop sign.

The crash remains under investigation.

TRAFFIC DEATHS DECREASE SLIGHTLY OVER 2017 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

4 of 7 killed in crashes were motorcyclists

RICHMOND – The 2017 Memorial Day holiday weekend proved safer for those traveling the highways of Virginia in comparison to the 2016 Memorial Day weekend. During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of seven drivers and passengers died in six traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. During the same time period in 2016, traffic crashes claimed a total of eight lives on Virginia highways.

The six fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Christiansburg and Norfolk and the counties of Augusta, Bedford, Carroll and Rockingham. Sunday’s fatal crash in Rockingham County claimed the lives of two drivers involved in a head-on collision, both of whom were not wearing seat belts.

State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 652 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period. Of the six passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, there were four fatal motorcycle crashes, which is particularly poignant as May is Motorcycle SafetyMonth. Two of those motorcyclists were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

“The number of traffic deaths on Virginia’s roadways continues to decrease, down 50 percent since 2015; However, even one fatality is too many, especially when taking basic safety precautions can save a life,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’re asking motorists to make sure they put safety first before they hit the road this summer. Buckle up, put on a helmet, eliminate distractions, put the phone down and never drive drunk or drugged. These things could make the difference in surviving or avoiding a crash all together.” 

Virginia State Police also 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. Friday, May 26, 2017, and concluded Monday, May 29, 2017, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day.

The 2016 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 10,468 speeders and 2,421 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 828 safety belt violations and 248 child restraint violations. A total of 110 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

Virginia State Police and law enforcement agencies nationwide also emphasized the importance of “Move Over” laws during the Memorial Day weekend. Virginia State Police organized and participated in a 24-hour Tweet-Along focused on sharing facts, impactful anecdotes and power images to raise awareness of these laws which require motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its flashing lights engaged.  

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. 

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE REMINDS MOTORISTS TO SLOW DOWN OR MOVE OVER THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and the Virginia State Police is taking this opportunity to remind motorists to do what’s right when they see lights – #MoveOver.

See lights- Do what's right.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads.

Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to change lanes, cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

From 2006 to 2015 nationwide, 128 law enforcement officers were struck by vehicles while conducting traffic stops, assisting motorists, directing traffic, or otherwise working at the roadside.*

Last year, five Virginia State Police troopers were injured after being involved in crashes in which a motorist failed to “Move Over.” Nationwide, 15 officers were struck and killed outside their vehicles.**

“Every day first responders and highway workers knowingly take on the dangerous task of working along the roadside to assist motorists or improve our highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’re asking drivers to help protect those men and women by doing what’s right when they see flashing red, blue or amber lights – Move Over or Slow Down. It’s the law, and it could save a life.”

Since the 2017 Memorial Day holiday weekend falls within this year’s Click It or Ticket campaign, state police troopers will be even more vigilant in their efforts to increase seat belt usage among adults, teenagers and children. The two-week, concentrated educational and enforcement initiative began Monday and runs through June 4, 2017. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. 

Of the 761 total people killed last year in crashes throughout Virginia, 304 were unrestrained.***

Occupant restraint enforcement is a key component of the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic safety initiative that begins 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 26, 2017, and concludes Monday, May 29, 2017, at midnight.

The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day. The program also means that all available Virginia State Police troopers will be on patrol through the holiday weekend.

The 2016 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 913 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 273 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 11,048 speeders and 2,663 reckless drivers. A total of 131 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

There were 11 traffic fatalities statewide during the five-day period (May 27, 2016 – May 31, 2016) of the 2016 Memorial Day weekend. In 2015, there were 14 traffic deaths and, in 2014, Virginia experienced eight fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend.***

Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program recognizes Fraud Fighters

Richmond, Va. —Nine Fraud Fighters Awards were presented on May 10 during Fraud Awareness Week at the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units (VA IASIU) annual training seminar in Richmond.

Fraud Fighters Awards are given yearly by the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program (IFP) to individuals who go above and beyond in the fight against insurance fraud.

More than $21 million were paid to fraudulent claims in Virginia in 2016. Nationally, Insurance fraud is estimated to exceed $80 billion annually.

“Building a case against insurance fraud can be difficult,” said First Sgt. Steve Hall, Virginia State Police IFP coordinator. “And prosecuting insurance fraud can be even more of a challenge, so we certainly appreciate all the hard work of this year’s Fraud Fighters Awards winners.”

The Virginia General Assembly established the IFP in 1999 to initiate independent inquiries and investigations regarding suspected insurance fraud. The IFP established its Fraud Fighters Awards program in 2005.

Visit StampOutFraud.comto learn more about the Fraud Fighters Awards program and how you can help stamp out fraud in Virginia. Tips on insurance fraud can be submitted anonymously online or by dialing (877) 62FRAUD.

2017 Fraud Fighters Awards winners:

  •  Bradley Gregor, Virginia State Police Special Agent Accountant, Culpeper
  •  Chris Brennan, Virginia State Police Special Agent, Culpeper
  •  David Walker, Virginia State Police Special Agent, Fairfax
  •  James Liston, Virginia State Police Special Agent, Culpeper
  •  Lee Wietz, Virginia Bureau of Insurance Senior Investigator
  • Peggah Wilson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office for the Eastern District of N.C.
  • Rusty Fitzgerald, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Orange County
  •  Shawn McCurry, Virginia State Police Sergeant, Warrenton
  • Tommy Southwick, Virginia Bureau of Insurance Senior Investigator

The Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program teaches citizens how to identify insurance fraud and trains law enforcement how to prevent it. If you have information regarding suspected insurance fraud, call 1-877-62FRAUD or visit StampOutFraud.com

STATE POLICE HONOR TROOPER CHAD P. DERMYER DURING ANNUAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMORIAL SERVICE

Trooper Chad P. Dermyer

RICHMOND – The men and women of the Virginia State Police and their families gathereer together Wednesday, May 10, 2017, to honor those public safety professionals who have given the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the 2017 Virginia State Police Law Enforcement Memorial Service, special recognition was given to Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, who lost his life March 31, 2016, in the City of Richmond. The Honorable John W. Marshall, former Secretary of Public Safety, provided the ceremony’s keynote address.

A poignant part of the service was the unveiling and dedication of Trooper Dermyer’s portrait before his family and fellow troopers. Following the ceremony, Trooper Dermyer’s portrait will be hung in the Colonel C.W. Woodson Jr. Memorial Gallery located within the Virginia State Police Academy. The gallery already holds the portraits of the state police’s other 61 courageous men and women who died in the line-of-duty while serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

On the afternoon of March 31, 2016, Trooper Dermyer was among a team of troopers and special agents conducting field practical operations at the bus terminal in the City of Richmond. As Trooper Dermyer approached a male subject in the terminal, the subject pulled out a firearm and began shooting the trooper at close range. Trooper Dermyer died later that afternoon.

The service also recognized all of the Department’s law enforcement professionals who have died in the line of duty, and included a special tribute to the following eight troopers in which 2017 marks a significant milestone:    

Trooper William Stafford Tinsley

Born October 5, 1911, in Christiansburg, Va., Trooper Tinsley was 29 years old when he joined the State Police in 1941.

At the time, he was one of 220 men on the state police roster patrolling the Commonwealth.

He came to the Department with previous law enforcement experience  - having served as a deputy with the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office.

He served only 14 months with the Department when…on the evening of September 5, 1942…Trooper Tinsley was involved in a traffic crash east of Salem.

As he was responding to a traffic crash, a motorist became confused upon hearing Trooper Tinsley’s emergency siren.

The trooper swerved to avoid the other vehicle, which caused the trooper’s vehicle to go up an embankment and overturn several times.

He was ejected from the patrol car and did not survive his injuries.

A month shy of his 31st birthday, Trooper Tinsley was survived by his wife, Isabelle.

75 years later, we will never forget.

 

Trooper Charles Eugene Morris

Carroll County, Virginia was the hometown of Trooper Charles Morris who was born December 27, 1931.

A military veteran, he joined the United States Army at the age of 17 and served his country for three years.

In 1957, he entered the Virginia State Police Academy and completed his basic school training three months later on February 21, 1958.

On the evening of March 2, 1962, Trooper Morris, the Patrick County Sheriff and a deputy responded to a domestic call at a farmhouse near the NC border.

When the three law enforcement officers arrived at the home - the Sheriff knocked on the door, while Trooper Morris and the deputy stood a few feet behind him.

Suddenly shots rang out from a 20-gauge shotgun and Trooper Morris was struck twice.

Despite the sheriff and deputy’s concerted and immediate actions, Trooper Morris died at the hospital.

He was 30 years-old and in the process of building a home with his wife when he was killed.

He was our 24th line of duty death.

55 years later, we will never forget.

 

Trooper Alexander McKie Cochran III  

A New Jersey native, Trooper Cochran was born January 23, 1959, and eventually moved with his parents to Virginia where he attended Rappahannock Community College.

The call to service came early to the young man who became a helicopter crew chief with the Virginia National Guard and achieved the rank of sergeant.

Prior to joining the state police, he worked as a security guard and EMT with a volunteer rescue squad.

But Trooper Cochran always had a desire to join the state police and graduated the Academy in the 73rd Basic School.

On the night of January 15, 1987, Trooper Cochran was off-duty in his apartment when he heard gunshots.

Grabbing his Department-issued revolver, he immediately responded to what had started as a domestic dispute between a husband and wife.

The husband had fired a shotgun from the second floor window of his home, striking another man standing outside the residence who was talking to his wife.

Responding to the scene, Trooper Cochran immediately realized medical attention was needed.

As he approached his patrol vehicle to call for assistance, he was shot and killed.

Trooper Cochran was 27-years-old.

30 years later, we will never forgot.

 

Trooper Harry Lee Henderson

Born January 3, 1944, Lee Henderson was a native of Staunton, Va.

After finishing high school in 1961, he earned an accounting degree from Valley Vocational Technical School.

He joined state police in 1973 – graduating as a member of the 57th Basic School and was assigned to Front Royal.

In the early morning hours of March 17, 1987, Trooper Henderson had stopped a motorist for a violation on Interstate 66 in Warren County.

He was inside his patrol vehicle preparing a summons when his cruiser was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer.

Trooper Henderson did not survive the crash.  

Actively involved in his community, Trooper Henderson was well known with the Boy Scouts having served 22 years as a Scoutmaster.

During his two decades of service with the organization, Trooper Henderson saw 46 of his scouts – including his son, Michael, achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Trooper Henderson left behind a son and daughter.

30 years later, we will never forget.

 

Retired Sergeant Norman Wesley Hampton

A Richmond native and graduate of John Marshall High School, Sergeant Hampton was born October 22, 1937.

At the age of 19, he signed on as a Virginia State Police dispatcher and became a trooper two years later.

While serving the Commonwealth, he also served his country with the US Army from 1961 to 1963.

He was with the Department for 34 years before retiring in March of 1991.

Six years after his retirement, Hampton and his wife were walking along a South Carolina beach, June 3, 1997, when they heard a woman call for help.

A young boy had become separated from his raft while out in the Atlantic Ocean.

As his wife ran back down the beach to call 911, Sergeant Hampton ran into the ocean to rescue the 11-year-old.

According to news accounts, at the time – a spring storm had produced  powerful ocean waves, but Sgt. Hampton managed to assist the boy back on the raft.

Witnesses reported seeing Hampton being pulled under by the strong ocean currents.

The child made it to shore, but Hampton did not.

The local corner told a S.C. newspaper “for what it’s worth, I think what Mr. Hampton did was very heroic. His family should be honored to know he gave his life to save another.”

Retired Sergeant Hampton was 59 years old.

20 years later, we will never forget.

 

Senior Trooper Charles Mark Cosslett

Born February 24, 1962 in Norfolk, Mark Cosslett graduated from Monacan High School in Chesterfield County and immediately enlisted in the US Marine Corps in July 1981.

During his distinguished 4-years of military service, he earned several awards and medals including the Rifle Marksman and the Pistol Sharp Shooter Badges…and also served as a Military Police Officer.

He became a trooper in March 1986 – graduating as a member of the 77th Basic Session – and was assigned to Northern Virginia.

During the Fall of 2002 - the DC-MD & Northern VA areas were being terrorized by a sniper who had already claimed 13 lives.

On October 23, 2002, Senior Trooper Cosslett had spent the afternoon standing outside his son’s preschool, handing out Junior Trooper badges in an effort to help the area children feel safe during a very frightening and uncertain time.

He’d just returned to the Area Office when a “shots fired” call came over the state police radio.

While responding to the call on Interstate 95 near Springfield,

a tow-truck unexpectedly veered into the path of the trooper’s motorcycle causing a crash that claimed the 40 year-old trooper’s life.

Senior Trooper Cosslett was our

51st line of duty death.

15 years later, we will never forget.

 

Motorist Assistance Aide Horace Alvin Jarratt.

Horace Jarratt was born Oct. 24, 1940.

At the age of 64, Jarratt joined the state police – as a part-time civilian employee working as a Motorist Assistance Aide.

Through the years, he’d worked as a machine operator, truck driver, mechanic and manager of a service station.

But he it was his business -  Horace’s Towing - that he owned and operated for 9 years where he met and became friends with many state troopers.

After retiring from his wrecker business, he left Virginia only to return in 2004 and applied for the part-time Motorist Aide position.

The program was one in which civilian employees supported state troopers by helping motorists with minor issues on the road such as fixing flat tires, jump-starting vehicles or supplying gasoline to stranded motorists.

On the afternoon of April 25, 2007, Motorists Assistance Aide Jarratt pulled his state-issued vehicle onto the right shoulder of the northbound lanes of I-95 in Chesterfield County to respond to a call for debris in the roadway.

As he was attempting to remove a large piece of tire tread from the center lane for the safety of other motorists… a tractor-trailer swerved in an attempt to avoid the debris and struck Horace.

He died at the scene.

Horace Jarratt was the first state police civilian and motorist assistance aid to die in the line of duty.

He was 66-years-old and had been with the Department two years.

10 years later, we will never forget.

 

Trooper Andrew David Fox

Andrew Fox was born December 18, 1984 and grew up in Tazewell County.

He graduated Tazewell High School and growing up worked on farms in both Tazewell and Wythe counties.

His passion for farming led to a degree from Virginia Tech in agriculture science.

But, he found his calling in law enforcement and followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Town of Tazewell Police Department.

Later in 2006, he joined the Virginia State Police Academy and graduated the following year with the 111th Basic Session.

He was assigned to the Area 24 Office in Pulaski County and had just become a member of the Division IV Tact Team.

On the night of October 5, 2012, Trooper Fox was on special assignment directing traffic at the State Fair of Virginia in Hanover County.

A vehicle traveling through a Route 30 intersection failed to regard his direction and struck him.

Trooper Fox did not survive the crash.

He was 27-years-old and was survived by his wife, parents, and siblings.

He was the Department’s 58th Line of Duty Death.

5 years later, we will never forget.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE EXPERIENCING EMAIL OUTAGE

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police is currently working, in cooperation with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and Northrup Grumman, to identify, contain and eradicate malware that has impacted the Department’s email network. In order to address this concern, State Police will be unavailable to the public by email beginning 8 p.m. Wednesday (April 26, 2017). The shutdown is anticipated to last through noon Thursday (April 27, 2017).

Neither the malware nor the email shutdown will affect the Department’s daily field operations in the relation to traffic enforcement, traffic crash investigations, criminal investigations, vehicle inspections, motor carrier safety, Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN/NCIC), Firearms Transaction Program or criminal/non-criminal background checks.

During this time period, all State Police Headquarters and Area Offices will remain open during normal business hours. Those needing to reach State Police during normal business hours on Thursday, April 27, are asked to contact us by telephone. The main number for the Administrative Headquarters is 804-674-2000. Division and Area Office contact numbers are available on the VSP Website at http://www.vsp.virginia.gov/Office_Locations.shtm.

Those needing to contact the Virginia State Police in an emergency can still reach our Department at any time on a cell phone via #77.

State police will also utilize its Facebook and Twitter pages to provide updates.

The malware has impacted the Department’s ability to actively update the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Children Registry (SOR) website. As new information becomes available, records management and investigative updates related to the SOR are being done offline. As soon as the work stations assigned to the SOR are clear of any issues, the SOR will be immediately updated for the safety and welfare of the public. The public can still safely access the SOR via the State Police Website at www.vsp.virginia.gov.

The malware has not affected the abilities of the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Investigative Unit from fulfilling its state-mandated duties of conducting on-site residential and work address verifications. Nor does it have any impact on convicted sex offenders’ responsibilities to provide changes to, updates, register, or re-register with the Virginia State Police, as required by state law.

“We recognize the vital role email plays in regards to communicating with State Police, and appreciate the public’s patience and understanding as we diligently work to resolve this matter,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “While during this period we are required to communicate with the public through alternative means, our level of service should not otherwise be affected.”

VSP Warns of IRS Phone Cloning Scam

CHATHAM, Va. - Within the past 24 hours, the Virginia State Police have received calls from two Virginians and one New Yorker about IRS-impersonation telephone calls linked to a Virginia State Police Area 43 Office in Chatham. The scammers have cloned the state police office’s main number – (434) 432-7287 – as a tactic to help convince a caller that they are legitimate. This is a common ploy utilized by scammers as the annual IRS filing season comes to a close.

The Internal Revenue Service will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

According to the IRS Website, the aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

·         Please See: Consumer Alert: Scammers Change Tactics, Once Again

Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For more details see the IRS YouTube video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service .   

If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page.

KEEP THE SHENANIGANS OFF THE ROAD. CELEBRATE AND DRIVE RESPONSIBLY THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY

RICHMOND – For millions of Americans, partying is in the plan this St. Patrick’s Day, but Virginia State Police wants to remind those celebrating to plan for a safe ride home. 

Unfortunately on March 17, the number of drunk drivers on the road makes St. Patrick’s Day one of the deadliest holidays. Every 72 minutes during the holiday, a life is claimed in an alcohol-related crash. Virginia State Police will be increasing patrols to deter and detect those motorists who choose to drive under the influence.

Between 2011 and 2015, 252 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes during St. Patrick’s Day nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, from 6 p.m. March 16, to 5:59 a.m. March 18, 25 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.*

“Buzzed or drunk driving puts everyone’s life at risk,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Impaired driving claimed 241 lives on Virginia’s highways in 2015 and each of these deaths was 100% preventable. There is no excuse for it when today’s technology allows you to call for a ride at the press of a button. A rideshare will cost you a few dollars, but driving drunk could cost someone their life.”

According to personal finance website WalletHub, the average St. Patrick’s Day partier will spent $38. The average cost of a taxi in the U.S, which is one of many options for a safe ride this holiday, is just $11-$18.

Did you know NHTSA has a SaferRide app which is available for Android and Apple users? The app can help call a taxi, or a friend for a ride home or identify your location so you can be picked up. For more information:

The Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en

For Apple users: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8

Let’s make 2017 safer. Plan Before You Party:

  • Ensure you have a designated sober driver before any drinking begins.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call for a rideshare such as Uber or Lyft, call a friend or family member or stay where you are if possible.
  • Consider using your local community’s Sober Rides program – in Northern Virginia call 1-800-200-TAXI;
  • To drink and drive is a crime. If you witness a drunk driver on the road, dial #77 on a cell phone for the nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center or call 911;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help them make arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

All Virginians are reminded to drive to save lives on the road this St. Patrick’s Day and every day by always buckling up, avoiding distractions, sharing the road, driving drug & alcohol free, and obeying speed limits.

*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGE SAFETY WITH IMPENDING STORM

RICHMOND – As the Virginia State Police prepares for the impending nor’easter, Virginians are encouraged to get ready and plan ahead, too. Forecasts are currently calling for regions of the Commonwealth to get either several inches of snow, rain and/or a combination of both.

Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storm as it makes its way across the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.

If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:

  • Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, to include standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better.
  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
  • Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
  • Put down your phone. Having to drive in severe snow or rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
  • Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
  • Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone, download the App or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.

Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WELCOMES 125th GENERATION OF TROOPERS TO THE RANKS

 RICHMOND – On Friday, March 10, 2017, the Commonwealth will graduate its 125th generation of Virginia State Troopers. The 49 new troopers will be presented their diplomas during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in North Chesterfield County.

The new troopers have received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management. The members of the 125th Basic Session began their 29 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy Aug. 25, 2017.

The soon-to-be graduates of the 125th Basic Session are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia beginning March 13, 2017, for their final phase of training. Each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

1-8-17 6 p.m. VSP Traffic Stats

From 12 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) through 6 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 8), Virginia State Police have responded to 772 traffic crashes and aided 1,234 disabled vehicles statewide. During the same time period, Virginia State Police have received a total of 3,928 calls for service.

With temperatures still well below freezing, any thawing that took place during the day will refreeze overnight and cause treacherous road conditions. Folks are still advised to stay home tonight and delay travel in the morning, if at all possible. To check road conditions in advance of leaving home, call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org.

State Police have still only investigated one reported traffic fatality – in Greene County. Fortunately, the majority of crashes have involved only damage to vehicles.

From 12:00 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) – 6:00 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 8):

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

  • Traffic Crashes= 241
  • Disabled vehicles=229

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)

  • Traffic Crashes=60
  • Disabled Vehicles=68

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)

  • Traffic Crashes=98

Disabled Vehicles=90VSP responded to a traffic crash in Greene County around noon Saturday, in which an SUV struck a parked vehicle, ran off the road and overturned in a creek. The 40-year-old Madison County man died at the hospital.

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)

  • Traffic Crashes=58
  • Disabled Vehicles=85

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

  • Traffic Crashes=162
  • Disabled Vehicles=520

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)

  • Traffic Crashes=132
  • Disabled Vehicles=119

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)

  • Traffic Crashes=21
  • Disabled Vehicles=123

This will be our final crash/disabled vehicle stat follow up for this storm.

1-8-17 - Noon Update on Virginia Winter Traffic Stats

Yes, the sun is an encouraging sign when it comes to Virginia’s roads thawing…but many secondary and rural roads are still snow-covered, slick and impassable. Virginians are reminded to still be patient rather than risk getting stuck or involved in a crash.

Stuck/disabled vehicles continue to be the most common emergency call for Virginia Troopers. From 12 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) through 12 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 8), Virginia State Police have responded to 686 traffic crashes and aided 1,037 disabled vehicles statewide. During the same time period, Virginia State Police have received a total of 3,257 calls for service.

For those who do have to travel today…please keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Drive for Conditions – slow your speed and don’t tailgate
  • Always Buckle Up
  • Give Yourself Extra Travel Time to Reach Your Destination
  • Don’t Drive Distracted
  • Check Road Conditions in Advance of Leaving Home - Call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org.
  • State Police have still only investigated one reported traffic fatality – in Greene County. Fortunately, the majority of crashes have involved only damage to vehicles.

As of 1:15 p.m., Sunday, troopers are still on scene of 26 traffic crashes and 18 disabled vehicles statewide.

From 12:00 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) – 12:00 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 8):

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

  • Traffic Crashes= 226
  • Disabled vehicles=207

The Caroline County Deputy Sheriff, whose vehicle was struck head-on by a DUI driver early Saturday morning, continues to recover from serious injuries sustained in the crash.

The VSP Sergeant, whose patrol car was struck Saturday evening on Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County in a multi-vehicle crash, has been treated and released from Chippenham Medical Center.

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)

  • Traffic Crashes=49
  • Disabled Vehicles=55

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)

  • Traffic Crashes=81
  • Disabled Vehicles=76

VSP responded to a traffic crash in Greene County around noon Saturday, in which an SUV struck a parked vehicle, ran off the road and overturned in a creek. The 40-year-old Madison County man died at the hospital.

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)

  • Traffic Crashes=55
  • Disabled Vehicles=73

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

  • Traffic Crashes=141
  • Disabled Vehicles=434

Stuck vehicles on the Eastern Shore have been keeping Virginia Troopers busy all Sunday morning. Since 4:30 a.m., Sunday, Troopers on the Eastern Shore have responded to 37 disabled vehicles. Due to the snow drifts 3 feet to 4 feet high, VSP Troopers have had to request assistance from the Virginia National Guard. PHOTO attached of VNG Specialist Lakin & Sergeant Thomas, of the 1710 Transportation Company mobilized out of the Onancock Armory, who spent Sunday morning helping transport Troopers to calls for service.

 

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)

Traffic Crashes=115

Disabled Vehicles=102

 

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)

Traffic Crashes=19

Disabled Vehicles=90       

VSP Still Urging Drivers to Stay off the Roads

Since the storm’s arrival in Virginia, Virginia State Police troopers have responded to more than 660 traffic crashes and aided more than 900 disabled vehicles statewide (Time period: Midnight Saturday (Jan. 7) through 6 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 8)). As of 8:30 a.m., Sunday (Jan. 8), state troopers are aiding 15 stuck/disabled motorists and investigating three traffic crashes statewide.

State police have investigated one fatal crash, which occurred Saturday (Jan. 7) in Greene County.  Icy roads were a factor in that crash. Fortunately, the majority of crashes on Saturday involved only damage to vehicles.

Due to extremely cold temperatures and icy conditions, State Police are still encouraging drivers to be patient and stay off the roads until temperatures rise and the roads can be treated by VDOT. To check road conditions, please call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org for the latest road condition updates. Virginians are asked to keep 911 and #77 lines open for emergencies.

VSP Responding to hundreds of crashes and stuck vehicles across the Commonwealth - Noon Update for 1-7-17

The Central Virginia, Hampton Roads and Southside Virginia regions continue to be the busiest for Virginia State Police troopers’ calls for service Saturday (Jan. 7). Fortunately, the majority of crashes have involved only damage to vehicles and there have been no reported traffic fatalities in Virginia.

Road conditions remain treacherous and Virginians are still advised to stay off the roads.

From midnight Saturday through noon Saturday, Virginia State Police have responded to 325 traffic crashes and 322 disabled vehicles statewide. During the same 12-hour period, Virginia State Police have received a total of 1,124 calls for service.

As of 11:45 a.m., troopers are still on scene of 37 traffic crashes and 35 disabled vehicles statewide.

From 12:00 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) – 12:00 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 7):

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

  • Traffic Crashes= 86
  • Disabled vehicles=76

Following this morning’s crash involving a Caroline County Deputy Sheriff, a 30-year-old Ruther Glen, Va., man has been arrested for DUI-1st offense, having a concealed weapon while intoxicated, and DUI maiming. Virginia State Police are investigating the head-on crash involving the Caroline County Deputy Sheriff that occurred on Ladysmith Road at 5 a.m. The man’s pickup truck crossed the centerline and struck the deputy’s marked vehicle. The deputy was transported to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Crash remains under investigation. See photos of the aftermath of this accident in the update posted this  morning.

    

PHOTO of Powhite Parkway at Route 60 in North Chesterfield County at 10:30 a.m.; Photo of Route 288 in Chesterfield County at 11 a.m.

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)

  • Traffic Crashes=19
  • Disabled Vehicles=17

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)

  • Traffic Crashes=38
  • Disabled Vehicles=29

    

PHOTOS of Route 460 at Route 26 in Appomattox County at 11 a.m. Saturday by Trooper L.W. Atkins.

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)

  • Traffic Crashes=35
  • Disabled Vehicles=33

 

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

  • Traffic Crashes=84
  • Disabled Vehicles=103
     

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)

  • Traffic Crashes=60
  • Disabled Vehicles=41

 

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)

  • Traffic Crashes=3
  • Disabled Vehicles=23        

 

For road conditions, please call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org and not 911 or #77.

VSP Advises Virginians to Stay Off the Roads - Crash & Disabled Vehicle Stats for 7 a.m. Update Saturday 1/7/17

Virginia State Police have spent the overnight hours responding to multiple calls across the Commonwealth for disabled and crashed vehicles. Road conditions are treacherous and Virginians are advised to stay off the roads.

As of 7 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7), Virginia State Police are on the scene of 21 disabled vehicles and 55 traffic crashes statewide. There have been no reported fatal crashes.

From midnight Saturday through 5 a.m. Saturday, Virginia State Police have responded to 106 traffic crashes and 58 disabled vehicles statewide.

From 12:00 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7) – 5:00 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 7):

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

  • Traffic Crashes= 24
  • Disabled vehicles=8

Virginia State Police are investigating a head-on crash involving a Caroline County Deputy Sheriff on Ladysmith Road. At 5 a.m. Saturday, a pickup truck crossed the centerline and struck the deputy’s marked vehicle. The deputy has been transported to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Crash remains under investigation. The driver of the pickup truck has been charged with a DUI and was taken to the Pumunkey Regional Jail.(Photos courtesy of the Virginia State Police).

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)

  • Traffic Crashes=1
  • Disabled Vehicles=5

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)

  • Traffic Crashes=2
  • Disabled Vehicles=5

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)

  • Traffic Crashes=15
  • Disabled Vehicles=11

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

  • Traffic Crashes=38
  • Disabled Vehicles=12

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)

  • Traffic Crashes=26
  • Disabled Vehicles=11

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)

  • Traffic Crashes=0
  • Disabled Vehicles=6       

NJ Missing Persons Discovered in Dinwiddie County

Thanks to an alert Dinwiddie County, Va., property owner, the missing 71-year-old New Jersey woman and her 5-year-old great-granddaughter were located by their vehicle shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 28, 2016). Both were found sitting together against a tree approximately 45 feet from the silver Toyota Rav4 that was parked on private property at least a mile from Nash Road (16,000 block). The property owner had spotted the vehicle from afar and went to check on it, when he found the woman and the child. Ms. Briley was unconscious at the time of her discovery. No foul play is suspected in their disappearance.

Upon receiving the call from the local resident, the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police immediately responded to and remain on scene. State police is in contact with the lead investigative agency, the Township of Hamilton, N.J., Police Department.

It appears Barbara Briley turned off of Nash Road and onto a dirt road, which she followed about 3/10 of a mile before pulling off into the woods. At one point, she drove over a small tree, attempted to back up and the Rav4 got stuck in a remote area of the property. Based on evidence recovered at the scene, it appears the two were there for several days but had enough drinks and snacks to sustain them for the duration of that time.

Barbara Briley was flown by State Police Med-Flight helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Va., for treatment. She is listed in serious condition.

Five-year-old La’Myra Briley was alert and appeared unharmed, but has been transported from the scene to the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office for medical evaluation. The child is now in the custody of a family member.

10 Killed in Four Days over Holiday Weekend in Virginia

RICHMOND – The Christmas holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one on Virginia’s highways. During the four-day statistical counting period, which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, through midnight Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, preliminary reports indicate 10 people died in traffic crashes across the Commonwealth.

The 10 fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Buchanan, Culpeper, Fauquier, Louisa, Prince William and Wise; and the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk. Three of the deceased were pedestrians (Louisa County, Prince William County and the City of Suffolk). The fatal crash in the city of Chesapeake was a hit-and-run that is still under investigation by the Virginia State Police. Four of the drivers and passengers killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

“Tragically, too many families spent their Christmas with family making arrangements for funeral services,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We cannot stress enough the importance for drivers to make smart, safe and sober decisions during the remaining days of 2016. Let us finish out this year by simply doing what’s right when it comes to driving on Virginia’s highways. Please drive to save lives.”

On Thursday (Dec. 22), within hours of the start of the statistical counting period, two 16-year-old females lost their lives in a Halifax County traffic crash and a 40-year-old male was killed in a Wythe County traffic crash. Then, 50 minutes after midnight Tuesday (Dec. 27), a 27-year-old man was killed in a Chesterfield County crash.

All drivers are reminded with the New Year’s holiday this weekend to make a commitment to driving sober, driving without distraction, driving buckled up, and driving the posted speed limit.

Virginia State Police troopers will have an increased presence on highways across the Commonwealth during the New Year’s holiday weekend to ensure the safety of all motorists. Please also be alert to those troopers, firefighters, medics, wrecker drivers and highway maintenance workers working alongside our highways and comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law.

SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS – DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES

RICHMOND – With the holiday season upon us and plenty of festive occasions to attend, the Virginia State Police are reminding all partygoers that the best way to survive the holidays is to drive to save lives.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people in the U.S. die every day in an alcohol-related vehicle crash - which translates to one person every 53 minutes. Drunk driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the past three decades; however, the chance of being involved in an alcohol-impaired crash is still one in three over the course of a lifetime. Alcohol-related crash deaths and damages contribute to a cost of $52 billion per year.

Last year, nationwide, there were 10,265 deaths* resulting from alcohol-impaired traffic crashes, with 241 of those deaths occurring in Virginia.** Another 4,917 persons were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes across the Commonwealth.

“The fact that alcohol-related deaths and injuries on Virginia’s highways are decreasing is encouraging, but we still need all drivers to get the message,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail. We need every driver to make smart, safe and sober decisions. Let's drive to save lives in these remaining days of 2016."

It’s illegal in Virginia to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). And it might not take as much alcohol as one might think to get there. So the safest approach is to only drive sober. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party, bar, or restaurant, let someone else do the driving – a sober friend, a taxi, public transportation or a Transportation Network Company, like Uber or Lyft

To detect and deter impaired driving, the Virginia State Police is once again participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign by increasing patrols and participating in DUI checkpoints with local police and sheriff’s offices across the Commonwealth.

In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, it is just as important for everyone to be alert and report a drunk driver to state police by dialing #77 on a cell phone. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. “We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round,” Flaherty said.

If you plan to drink, then plan to get home safely:

•Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash.

•If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.

•If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or just stay put.

Trooper’s Father Seeks Support versus Sadness during the Holidays

RICHMOND – Law enforcement personnel on patrol through Richmond and Hampton Roads will get a “thank you” during the holidays from slain trooper’s father, John Dermyer, and the generosity of Lamar Outdoor Advertising. John Dermyer currently lives in Kansas City and reached out to Lamar Advertising about putting up a billboard during the holidays to thank local and state law enforcement for the service and protection they provide every day to local communities. The billboard advertising company not only agreed to help Mr. Dermyer, but offered to put up four digital billboards in the Kansas City region free of charge.

Lamar then agreed to do the same in Virginia, where his son served in both the Hampton Roads and Richmond regions as a Virginia State Police trooper. The Virginia digital billboards start Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, and will run through Christmas day.

Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, was shot and killed while on duty March 31, 2016, as he approached a male subject at a bus terminal in the city of Richmond.

A Kansas City television station interviewed Mr. Dermyer Dec. 14, 2016, on the billboards: http://www.kmbc.com/article/slain-troopers-father-creates-billboard-with-message-of-support-to-police/8501835

TRAFFIC DEATHS DECLINE OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

Virginians Still Encouraged to Drive to Save Lives During Winter Holiday Season

RICHMOND – Fortunately, a forecasted record volume of traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend did not yield an increase in traffic deaths across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Preliminary reports indicate a total of seven people were killed in seven traffic crashes statewide, compared to nine deaths during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday and eight in 2014.

The 2016 Thanksgiving statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday (Nov. 23) and concluded at midnight Sunday (Nov. 27). This year’s fatal traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, Caroline, Loudoun and Nottoway; and the cities of Newport News and Norfolk. Two pedestrians were killed in the crashes in Caroline and Nottoway counties. The crashes in Appomattox and Buckingham counties claimed the lives of two teenagers. Of the five drivers and passengers killed, four were not wearing seatbelts.

To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police once again participated in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

During the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:

  • Cited 9,594 speeders
  • Cited 2,812 reckless drivers
  • Arrested 137 drunken drivers
  • Cited 597 safety belt violations & 206 child restraint violations
  • Investigated 1,131 traffic crashes
  • Assisted 3,925 disabled/stranded motorists

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.

“As we transition into the winter holidays, Virginia State Police troopers will continue our heightened patrol presence across the Commonwealth for the safety of all motorists,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are asking for Virginians to do their part, too, by always buckling up, obeying speed limits, driving alcohol and drug free, sharing the road, and not driving distracted. By working together, we can save countless lives on Virginia’s highways this holiday season.”

During the month of December, Virginia State Police will continue to participate in Checkpoint Strikeforce, a research-based, multi-state, zero-tolerance initiative designed to get impaired drivers off our roads using checkpoints and patrols. It also aims to educate the public about dangers and consequences of drunk driving. According to Insurance Institute of Highway Safety studies, sobriety checkpoints can reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities by as much as 20 percent through their ability to deter and detect drunk drivers.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE TROOPER TRAINEES PRODUCE “MANNEQUIN CHALLENGE” VIDEO TO BENEFIT THOSE IN NEED

Challenge Issued to Tennessee & Michigan Trooper Trainees

RICHMOND, Va. – The 55 members of the Virginia State Police Academy are taking a stand – literally- against hunger in local communities across the nation. On Monday (Nov. 20), the 125th Basic Session took their food drive to the next level by producing a “mannequin challenge” video at the state police Academy in North Chesterfield County.

The trooper-trainees were already purchasing food to donate to local food banks and churches within the Blackstone, Va., and Metro-Richmond communities in time for Thanksgiving, when they came up with the idea to go global. With the help of Virginia State Police Superintendent, Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, and Academy staff, the 125th Basic Session has issued a “food drive mannequin challenge” to Tennessee Highway Patrol Academy Class #1216 and Michigan State Police 131st and 132nd Trooper Recruit Classes.

“Since our jobs as troopers are not only to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, but also to be community caretakers, we decided to ‘pay it forward’ by helping our communities by providing them with all the trimmings of a full Thanksgiving meal,” said Virginia State Police 125th Basic Session President, Trooper-Trainee T.C. Fairburn. “So with the current trend of mannequin challenges, our class thought producing our own video would be a fun and productive way to get the word out there to truly help others in need. Hopefully this idea will go viral with state police and highway patrol academy classes, nationwide, taking the challenge and helping give back this holiday season to the very communities we will serve and protect once we graduate from our respective academies.”

This is the first time the Virginia State Police has ever produced a video “challenge.” The VSP mannequin challenge is 2 minutes and 42 seconds long, and available on the VSP YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/6KACfdUixWk. The 125th Basic Session began their 29-week Academy in August 2016 and graduate in March 2017.

Virginia State Police remind motorists to secure unattended vehicles

Statistics show keys left inside nearly one in four stolen vehicles

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program is urging citizens to think twice before leaving their vehicles unattended with the keys inside.

There were 8,103 auto thefts in the Commonwealth in 2015, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that the keys or key fob had been left in 1,890 of those. Virginia State Police Special Agent Peter Lazear said the problem may be even greater than what the numbers show.

“Statistically, we’re seeing that one in four vehicles stolen has the keys inside,” he said. “But we hear it all the time from other law enforcement agencies that it’s more like half of the cars stolen have the keys inside.”

Look around the parking lot of any convenience store or gas station and you’re likely to see at least one unattended vehicle with the engine running, Lazear said.

“And the driver is nowhere in sight.”

Securing your vehicle becomes an especially hot topic when the weather turns cold.

“We’ve reached that time of year,” Lazear said. “People are warming up their cars in the mornings and leaving them unmonitored for minutes at a time. Those are easy targets. It’s also recommended that any items of value be removed from the vehicle or, at the very least, secured out of plain sight.”

To best protect your vehicle, Lazear said motorists should follow a layered approach to prevention. First and foremost, take your keys or take your chances.

“We can’t stress this enough,” he said. “Always lock your car and make sure the windows are closed whenever you’re not with the vehicle. And please avoid the temptation to leave your engine running when you go into a store.”

Second, be sure to activate the factory alarm system. If your vehicle isn’t equipped with an alarm, consider having one installed.

“Alarms make a lot of noise, and a lot of noise draws attention,” Lazear said. “Thieves don’t like attention.”

Layer three recommends using immobilizers or tracking systems. There are a number of products on the market at different price points, Lazear said.

“You may find it to be worth the investment.”

VSP Investigating Two Fatal Crashes in Brunswick County

Virginia State Police Trooper K.H. Pearce is investigating a single-vehicle fatal crash that occurred in Brunswick County. The crash occurred Saturday (Nov. 5) at 10:17 a.m. on Interstate 85 at the 38 mile marker.

A 2007 Saturn Aura was traveling south on I-85 when it ran off the left side of the interstate, struck a tree and overturned.

The driver, Destiny A. Freeman, 18, of Lorton, Va., was not injured in the crash. She was wearing a seat belt.

The passenger, Amari S. Newton, 18, of Alexandria, Va., was not wearing a seat belt. She died at the scene.

A third passenger, a 20-year-old male, was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.

Freeman was charged with reckless driving. The crash remains under investigation.

Virginia State Police Trooper M.S. Ezell is investigating a single-vehicle fatal crash in Brunswick County. The crash occurred Sunday (Nov. 6) at 3:10 a.m., on Route 58, less than a mile east of Route 720.

A 2006 Audi A4 was traveling east on Route 58 when it ran off the left side of the highway, struck a culvert, struck two trees and finally came to rest in the median.

The driver, Mekiel T. Banks, 20, of Chicago, Ill., was not wearing a seat belt and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

A passenger, Howard L. Griffin Jr., 26, of Nashville, Tenn., was not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.

Banks was charged with reckless driving. The crash remains under investigation.

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