June 1, 2010
The Memorial Day 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, May 28, ended at midnight Monday, May 31, preliminary reports indicate 10 men and women died in 10 traffic crashes across the commonwealth. Last year, seven people died during the Memorial Day weekend.
Of the 10 killed in traffic crashes, three were motorcyclists. Those fatal crashes occurred in the City of Virginia Beach, and the counties of Prince William and Clarke. The Clarke County crash claimed the life of a 54-year-old Frederick County man when his motorcycle struck a deer. Excessive speed was a factor in the crash that claimed the life of a 35-year-old Dale City motorcyclist on I-95 in Prince William County. All three motorcyclists were wearing helmets.
One of the 10 holiday traffic deaths involved a pedestrian walking through the intersection of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard and Diligence Drive in the City of Newport News late Saturday, May 29. The 34-year-old Williamsburg man was struck by a vehicle. Alcohol was determined to be a factor in the crash.
The remaining six traffic fatalities involved passenger vehicles. Not one of the six individuals was wearing a safety belt. The crashes occurred in the city of Chesapeake and the counties of Grayson, Montgomery, Pittsylvania and Tazewell. Two of the crashes occurred in Pittsylvania County.
With 75 percent of its uniformed workforce patrolling over the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police investigated a total of 646 traffic crashes statewide and issued 10,780 summonses and arrests. Among those stopped included 10,592 speeders and 2,609 reckless drivers. State Police statewide charged 121 drivers with DUI. A total of 1,007 adults failed to buckle up and 307 children were not properly restrained as required by state law.
The holiday weekend enforcement efforts were part of Operation CARE, the Combined Accident Reduction Effort, a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. The Virginia State Police’s participation in the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign will continue through Sunday, June 6. Virginia’s state and local law enforcement are committed to increasing seat belt usage in Virginia through stepped-up enforcement and education.
“For the past couple of years, Virginia has been experiencing a significant decline in traffic deaths statewide,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “As of June 1 in Virginia, 11 more people have died this year when compared to this same time last year. As we head into the summer travel season, Virginians of all ages must make traffic safety a priority by using a seat belt, not driving distracted, obeying speed limits and never driving impaired.”