VSP Mourn Loss of Aviation Personnel
RICHMOND – Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
Shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. The Bell 407 helicopter was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville.
The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.
No one on the ground was injured.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by state police, the FAA and NTSB. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.
“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth.”
Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.
Trooper-Pilot Bates would have turned 41 years old Sunday, Aug. 13. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. Trooper-Pilot Bates is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
WASHINGTON, DC — Two troopers are dead after a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed near Charlottesville around 5 p.m. Saturday. The Birdwood Golf Course is nearby and several people witnessed the crash from there.
The helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitor the violent clashes throughout the city, according to police.
Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton were killed in the crashed. No was on the ground was injured.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, police say, but there is no indication of foul play, according to a statement.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty said that the department is “mourning this tragic outcome.”
Condolences have poured in the offices of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and local law enforcement agencies. McAuliffe in a statement described Bates and Cullen as close friends and trusted members of the governor’s team.
President Donald Trump offered his condolences in a tweet.
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors issued a statement praising the courage of public safety officers and local residents who offered aid and care during the day.
Cullen joined the aviation unit in 1999. Bates, who would have been 41 on Aug. 13, transferred to the unit last July.
Owner/operator: Virginia State Police department
C/n / msn:
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: near a golf course in Charlottesville, Virginia - United States of America
A statement of the Virginia State Police said:
'Shortly before 5pm today (August 12), a helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. There are two confirmed fatalities.
'No one on the ground was injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. State police are on scene with Albemarle County police and fire units.'