AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. – Dr. Hughes Melton died Friday after being hospitalized after a crash Wednesday in Augusta County.
Melton, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services was driving when police believe he suffered a medical emergency, causing a three-car crash in which an 18-year-old girl died.
Gov. Ralph Northam released this statement on 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.”
Virginia's top mental health official is in the hospital after a deadly crash Wednesday afternoon, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
State police are investigating the crash that happened shortly after 1 p.m. on Route 254 near Kiddsville Road.
A 2018 Hyundai Tuscon was going east on Route 254 when it hit the rear bumper of a 2018 Subaru CrossTrek heading the same direction. The Hyundai crossed the center line and collided head-on with a westbound 2003 Toyota Solara.
The driver of the Toyota, Hailey Green, 18, of Staunton, Virginia, died at the scene.
The driver of the Hyundai, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Commissioner Samuel Melton, 52, of Bristol, Virginia, was transported to UVA Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Subaru was not injured in the crash.
All drivers were wearing seat belts.
Further investigation has revealed that Melton may have suffered a medical emergency, which is being investigated as a factor in the crash.