Officers identified in fatal VSP helicopter crash

2 Virginia State Troopers are dead

CHARLOTTESVILLE - UPDATE 8:45 p.m. - Virginia State Police identified the two officers killed in a helicopter crash. 

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene. 

The Bell 407 helicopter was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville. 

No one else was injured. 

“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.”

Lt. Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in 1994. He joined the VSP Aviation Unit in 1999. 
Trooper-Pilot Berkes graduated from the Academy in 2004. He just joined the unit in July.  

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Virginia State Police, the  FAA, and the NTSB are investigating. State Police says there is no indication foul play was a factor in the accident. 


UPDATE: 7:05 - Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal helicopter crash in Albemarle County.

According to a release, the helicopter went down just before 5:00 p.m. It crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road.

No one on the ground was injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Virginia State Police say they will release more information as it becomes available.


UPDATE: 6:02 - Virginia State Police have confirmed two fatalities in that crash. 

Details remain limited at this time. Stay with WSLS 10 for the latest. 


BREAKING: WSLS 10 has confirmed a Virginia State Police helicopter crashes outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. 

An alert to Police says the crash was "Fully Involved ... Possibly one or two souls aboard"

It happened today at 43 Old Farm Road. 

Details are limited at the moment. We have a crew in route to the scene and will be bringing you the latest information.

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