From staff and contributed reports
No traffic fatalities occurred in Rappahannock County during the Memorial Day holiday weekend but a 21-year-old Fauquier County man died in a road accident near Shenandoah National Park on May 20.
Michael Allen Winks of Casanova was westbound on U.S. 211 at 2:55 p.m. when he lost control after passing a vehicle on a curve. He went off the right side of the road, hit a guardrail and was thrown off his 1999 Suzuki motorcycle, according to Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. F.L. Tyler. He said speed, but not alcohol, was a factor in the crash. The crash occurred 3.4 miles west of Route 667. Winks, who was wearing a helmut, died at the scene, Tyler said.
During the four-day Memorial Day holiday period (12:01 a.m. Friday to midnight Monday), preliminary reports indicate 10 men and women died in 10 traffic crashes across the state, according to State Police. Last year, seven people died during the holiday weekend.
Three of this year’s fatalities were motorcyclists. Those crashes occurred in Virginia Beach and in Prince William and Clarke counties. The Clarke County crash claimed the life of a 54-year-old Frederick County man when his motorcycle struck a deer. Excessive speed was a factor in the crash that claimed the life of a 35-year-old Dale City motorcyclist on I-95 in Prince William County. All three motorcyclists were wearing helmets.
One of this year’s deaths involved a pedestrian walking through the intersection of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard and Diligence Drive in Newport News late Saturday. The 34-year-old Williamsburg man was struck by a vehicle. Alcohol was determined to be a factor in the crash.
The remaining six traffic fatalities involved passenger vehicles. Not one of the six individuals was wearing a safety belt. The crashes occurred in the city of Chesapeake and in Grayson, Montgomery, Pittsylvania and Tazewell counties.
With 75 percent of its uniformed workforce patrolling over the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police investigated a total of 646 traffic crashes statewide and issued 10,780 summonses and arrests. Among those stopped were 10,592 speeders and 2,609 reckless drivers. State police statewide charged 121 drivers with DUI. A total of 1,007 adults failed to buckle up and 307 children were not properly restrained as required by state law.
The holiday weekend enforcement efforts were part of Operation CARE, (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.
The Virginia State Police’s participation in the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign will continue through Sunday (June 6). Virginia’s state and local law enforcement are committed to increasing seat belt usage in Virginia through stepped-up enforcement and education.
“For the past couple of years, Virginia has been experiencing a significant decline in traffic deaths statewide,” said VSP Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty. “As of June 1 in Virginia, 11 more people have died this year when compared to this same time last year. As we head into the summer travel season, Virginians of all ages must make traffic safety a priority by using a seat belt, not driving distracted, obeying speed limits and never driving impaired.”