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Nine killed on Virginia highways during July 4 holiday weekend

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Early reports show that nine people died during the 2022 Independence Day weekend in Virginia. The holiday statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and concluded at midnight on Monday as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort.

During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, there were 12 traffic deaths on Virginia highways.

“As encouraging as it is to see fewer traffic deaths this July 4 holiday weekend compared to last year, Virginians still cannot let their guard down when it comes to traffic safety,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “As of today, Virginia has already recorded 423 traffic deaths statewide, and we’re only halfway through 2022 and the summer months. I cannot stress enough the need for drivers to slow their speed, wear a seat belt, drive distraction free, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simply drive to save lives.”

The nine fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Danville, Franklin, Norfolk and Portsmouth, and the counties of Botetourt, Chesterfield, King William, Loudoun and Warren. The motorcycle fatalities occurred in the cities of Franklin and Portsmouth and Chesterfield County. The King William County crash involved an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

Two of the three motorcycle fatalities were single-vehicle and involved the motorcyclist losing control prior to the crash. The City of Danville and Warren County crashes involved pedestrians.

Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

During this weekend’s four-day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers:

  • Arrested 69 drivers for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Cited 4,262 speeders
  • Cited 1,585 reckless drivers
  • Issued 429 citations to individuals for failing to buckle up
  • Issued 131 citations for children not being properly secured in a vehicle.
  • Cited 165 drivers for being in violation of Virginia’s year-old “hands free” law

Troopers also assisted 977 disabled/stranded motorists statewide.

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.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.