Six people die in Virginia traffic accidents on July 4

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Six people were killed in traffic crashes in Virginia over the five-day Fourth of July holiday, down from seven deaths last July, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by Virginia State Police.

The recent deaths included a pedestrian struck in a hit-and-run crash, four were drivers and one was a passenger. The fatal crashes occurred in the city of Richmond and in Charles City, Henrico and Wythe counties. Two of the fatal crashes occurred in Bedford County, the release said.

State Police participated in Operation Accident Awareness Effort (CARE), a state-sponsored nationwide program aimed at reducing crashes, deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving, speeding and failure to wear seat belts. The statistical counting period ran from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, through midnight on Sunday, July 7.

“Speeding, unbuckled drivers and passengers, and distracted driving continue to put many people traveling on our roadways at risk,” Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said in a statement.

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“On July 4, in the mid-afternoon on I-495 in Northern Virginia, Trooper JT Pappas pulled over a driver for going 130 mph in a 65 mph zone. A few days earlier, a motorist had been cited for going 125 mph on I-64 in Rockbridge County.

“Virginia’s roads are no place for triple-digit speeds. To save lives on our roads, Virginians must go the extra mile and obey posted speed limits,” Settle said.

During Operation CARE on July 4, 2024, 4,044 motorists were cited for speeding along with 1,868 reckless drivers, according to state police. Troopers arrested 95 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and issued 574 tickets to people for not buckling up and another 191 tickets for not having children properly restrained in a vehicle. Virginia troopers cited 423 drivers for violating Virginia’s “hands-free” law, according to the release.

State police investigated a total of 1,027 traffic accidents statewide and assisted 1,011 disabled or stranded motorists during the July 4 statistical counting period.

Funds generated from citations issued by the Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.