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Saturday, August 12, 2017

VSP Press Release: VSP Mourn Loss of Aviation Personnel

Cullen
Bates

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 Bates 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. Trooper-Pilot Bates is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

R.I.P., Gentlemen. Thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...

Sad, they were there to patrol the area via the sky and protect the rights of those to hate and those to oppose hate and lost their lives trying to maintain order and peace. Sickening. Deepest sympathies to their families and colleagues in their time of pain and senseless chaos.

Anonymous said...

Both the Mayor of this town and the Governor were asleep at the wheel on this one. They were not prepared to deal with this event and, when things blew up, they had no clue what to do other than find somebody other than themselves to blame.