Virginia health official dies following fatal crash

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Dr. Samuel Hughes Melton, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), has passed following a vehicle accident early Wednesday.

Dr. Melton was involved in an accident early Wednesday morning in Augusta County. He faced life-threatening injuries and was transported to UVA Medical Center. An 18-year-old female driver died at the scene.

Dr. Melton succumbed to his injuries Friday.

Governor Ralph Northam issued the following statement on Dr. Melton’s passing:

“Pam and I are deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Hughes Melton, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Dr. Melton passed away today from injuries he sustained in a car accident on Wednesday. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Melton’s wife, daughters, and family and friends. We also extend our prayers and sympathies to the family of Hailey Green, a young woman from Staunton who was killed in the accident. 

Dr. Melton was a fellow veteran and physician. In 2018, I appointed Dr. Melton to serve Virginia as our DBHDS commissioner, a role he filled ably and with enthusiasm. His public service also included his previous appointment as Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, as well as service on a number of boards and groups devoted to improving the medical profession, health policy, and addiction treatment. Dr. Melton for many years made his home in Southwest Virginia, where he built a well-respected career as a family physician and addiction expert.

Not only was Dr. Melton a devoted public servant and physician, I considered him a friend.

Our thoughts are with all who knew and loved both Hughes Melton and Hailey Green.”

Governor Ralph Northam

The crash is still under investigation.

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