Winchester Police Officer Hunter Edwards was among 12 fatalities on Virginia roads over Thanksgiving weekend.
According to Virginia State Police, Edwards, 30, died after his patrol car struck a tree as he was rushing to back up fellow officers responding to a fight Nov. 24. Edwards was married in September.
VSP preliminary reports indicate 11 traffic crashes across Virginia claimed the lives of nine drivers, two passengers and a motorcyclist. Last year, there were 14 fatalities during the four-day weekend – the most since 2013.
The 2018 traffic fatalities occurred in the cities of Danville, Hampton, Lynchburg and Winchester, and the counties of Accomack, Greensville, Hanover, Henry, Montgomery, Stafford and Wise. Alcohol was a factor in at least two of the fatal crashes. Four of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
“We are about to embark on one of the busiest and most heavily-traveled times of the year,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, VSP superintendent. “Today (Nov. 26), Gov. Northam announced the new ‘Towards Zero Deaths’ campaign and urged Virginians to help change the Commonwealth’s traffic safety culture so we can achieve the goal of reducing the number of traffic-related serious injuries and deaths to zero.”
VSP troopers issued 596 citations for seat belt violations and 198 citations for child safety seat violations. State police cited 7,419 speeders and 2,157 reckless drivers, and made 102 arrests for DUI.