Published: Thu, August 17, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

New Details: Deadly Virginia State Police Helicopter Crash

New Details: Deadly Virginia State Police Helicopter Crash

In that crash, one person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

Virginia State Police confirmed that pilots Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, died in the wreck.

Bates was a hockey player for the University of Tennessee club team and played in the minor leagues.

Bates has family living in Knoxville.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. "This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth".

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitor the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

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Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty shared his condolences in the department's statement.

An air crew member from a second Virginia State Police helicopter on scene breaks down after landing at the crash site. The helicopter was traveling at a 45-degree angle when it descended into the trees and caught fire after the crash.

Cullen who piloted the fatal flight on Saturday was graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 and joined the aviation unit in 1999 where he was promoted to commander in February of 2016.

Bates would have turned 41-years-old on Sunday, August 13. The unit is staffed by Trooper-Pilots, all of whom are sworn members of the Department, are qualified "Police Pilots", and have private pilots' licenses. Trooper-Pilot Bates is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

"State police would not say if the helicopter had been involved in monitoring the clashes between alt-right demonstrators and counter protesters ahead of the scheduled Unite the Right rally downtown", Daily Progress reported. Berke was part of my executive protection unit.

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