2 State Police Officers Killed in Helicopter Crash

Crash Related to Violence in Charlottesville

Update:  News Release from Virginia State Police

RICHMOND – Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.

 

Shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road.  The Bell 407 helicopter was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville.

 

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

 

No one on the ground was injured.

 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by state police, the FAA and NTSB. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.

 

“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth.”

 

Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.

 

 

Trooper-Pilot Burkes would have turned 41 years old Sunday, Aug. 13. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July.

 

 

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. – Officials say the deaths of two people in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, have been linked to a violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day.

It was not immediately clear how the crash was connected to the rally.

Corinne Geller, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman, says the pilot and a passenger were killed in the crash Saturday afternoon.

VSP says the crash happened shortly after 5 p.m. The crash happened in a wooded area near a home on Old Farm Road. Police said no one on the ground was hurt.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

This happened just a short drive outside of Charlottesville where 35 people were injured and one person killed Saturday during various altercations resulting from “pro-white” protests that were taking place there.

The president confirmed via Twitter that the two men who died were Virginia State Police.

 


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