Virginia State Police Mourn Two Troopers

Virginia State Police Mourn Two Troopers

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

Shortly before 5 p.m. 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, VSP officials said.

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.

No one on the ground was injured.

VSP, the FAA and NTSB are still investigating the cause of the crash. State police officials said 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,”VSP Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said in a release. “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.”

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. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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