Labor Day weekend was deadly on Virginia highways, with the number of fatalities more than double a year ago and the highest since 2015.
According to statistics released by the Virginia State Police, 12 people died in 11 fatal crashes during the four-day weekend from Aug. 31 through Sept. 3. That compares to only five during the same period in 2017 and the highest number since 16 deaths in 2015.
The fatal crashes took place in the counties of Carroll, Culpeper, Fairfax, Page, Prince William, Smyth, Tazewell and York and the cities of Lawrenceville, Newport News and Norfolk. These crashes claimed the lives of three motorcyclists, a motorcycle passenger and three pedestrians. Of the remaining five crashes, two involved people who were not wearing a seat belt.
“For most, Labor Day marks the close of summer, the last neighborhood cookout and the start of a new school year, but for 12 families – the families of those who experienced the loss of a loved one this weekend – this holiday is forever changed, ” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It’s nothing short of alarming to have a 140 percent increase in fatalities compared to last year. What’s more surprising is that many of the crashes we see on Virginia’s highways could be prevented if we all do our part toward safety. That means buckling up, never driving impaired and always keeping our focus on the road.”
The most serious incident in Loudoun County involved a head-on crash on Route 15 north of Leesburg that closed that stretch of highway for more than four hours Labor Day morning. According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened at 5:10 a.m. Sept. 3 on Route 15 near Montresor Road when a southbound Hyundai Accent collided with a northbound Honda CRV. The driver of the Hyundai, Tyler S. Munno, 23, of Leesburg, was charged with DUI. Both drivers were transported to area hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.
During the weekend, VSP troopers cited 8,427 speeders and 2,050 reckless drivers. They also issued citations for 1,024 occupant restraint violations, including 227 to adult motorists who failed to secure a juvenile passenger in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. There were 72 arrests for DUI.