VSP: 10 dead after 8 Thanksgiving weekend crashes around Virginia, including in Lynchburg and Pittsylvania County

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(WFXR) – Between Wednesday morning and Sunday night, Virginia State Police say 10 people died in eight traffic crashes — including crashes in Lynchburg and Pittsylvania County — across Virginia, with speed playing a factor in at least half of those crashes.

According to police, from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, to midnight on Sunday, Nov. 29, a total of 10 people lost their lives in eight crashes that took place in Lynchburg, Newport News, Richmond, Frederick County, Pittsylvania County, Rockingham County, and Shenandoah County.

Over the course of the Thanksgiving statistical counting period, officials say preliminary data indicates speed played a factor in at least four fatal crashes, which led to the deaths of six people, including a teenager and a 6-year-old boy who were not wearing appropriate safety restraints.

In addition, one of the eight total crashes, Virginia State Police say was alcohol related and one involved a pedestrian.

“Speed and lack of personal safety restraints continue to cost Virginians their lives,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “As we continue through the holiday season, I am pleading with Virginians of all ages to respect and comply with all traffic safety laws. Virginia State Police and your loved ones want you to arrive at your destination safely.”

Based on data from the Virginia DMV and the Virginia Highway Safety Office, the 10 traffic fatalities reported during the 2020 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period mark an increase from the eight traffic fatalities during the same period in 2019, but a decrease from the 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2018.

Furthermore, police say state troopers responded to 733 traffic crashes — 117 of which resulted in injuries — across the Commonwealth over the Thanksgiving weekend.

In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia State Police took part in Operation CARE — Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort — which is an annual, state-sponsored, national program when state troopers increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period.

According to officials, the 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday CARE initiative resulted in Virginia state troopers responding to the following incidents statewide:

  • 4,930 speeders cited
  • 1,706 reckless drivers cited
  • 67 drivers charged for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • 498 drivers cited for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers
  • 1,609 disabled/stranded motorists assisted

According to authorities, the summonses issued by state troopers fund court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which then benefits public school construction, technology funding, and teacher retirement.

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