2 troopers dead after police helicopter crashes near Charlottesville

WASHINGTON — Two troopers are dead after a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed near Charlottesville around 5 p.m. Saturday.

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 one 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 from 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.


WTOP’s Abigail Constantino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up