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10 killed in crashes over Thanksgiving holiday

Over the Thanksgiving statistical counting period, preliminary data shows that speed played a factor in at least four fatal traffic crashes. Those four crashes led to the deaths of six people, including a teenager and 6-year-old boy. In addition, the teenager and young boy were not wearing appropriate safety restraints.

“Speed and lack of personal safety restraints continue to cost Virginians their lives,” Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia state police superintendent said. “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.”

In total, during the five-day period which began at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 25 and concluded at midnight Nov. 29, 10 people lost their lives in eight traffic crashes in Virginia. The fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Lynchburg, Newport News and Richmond and the counties of Frederick, Pittsylvania, Rockingham and Shenandoah. Of those crashes, one was alcohol related, four were speed related and one involved a pedestrian.

This is an increase from 2019 when there were eight traffic fatalities during the five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period. There were 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2018.

In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. – Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation CARE is an annual, state-sponsored, national program during which state police increases its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period.

The 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 4,930 speeders and 1,706 reckless drivers statewide. Virginia troopers charged 67 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and cited 498 drivers for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers.

State police responded to 733 traffic crashes across the commonwealth, with 117 of those resulting in injuries. State police also assisted 1,609 disabled/stranded motorists during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s literary fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.