Update: Doctor involved in Route 254 crash dies
Dr. Hughes Melton passed away on Friday, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Ralph Northam.
Melton, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, was driving a car on Route 254 in Augusta County on Wednesday that hit two other cars, including one head on, killing Hailey D. Green, 18, a 2019 Fort Defiance High School graduate who was set to enroll at Eastern Mennonite University in the fall.
Virginia State Police are saying that a medical emergency may have precipitated the chain of accidents.
Statement from Gov. Northam:
“Pam and I are deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Hughes Melton, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Dr. Melton passed away today from injuries he sustained in a car accident on Wednesday. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Melton’s wife, daughters, and family and friends. We also extend our prayers and sympathies to the family of Hailey Green, a young woman from Staunton who was killed in the accident.
“Dr. Melton was a fellow veteran and physician. In 2018, I appointed Dr. Melton to serve Virginia as our DBHDS commissioner, a role he filled ably and with enthusiasm. His public service also included his previous appointment as Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, as well as service on a number of boards and groups devoted to improving the medical profession, health policy, and addiction treatment. Dr. Melton for many years made his home in Southwest Virginia, where he built a well-respected career as a family physician and addiction expert.
“Not only was Dr. Melton a devoted public servant and physician, I considered him a friend.
“Our thoughts are with all who knew and loved both Hughes Melton and Hailey Green.”