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8 people died on Va. highways over July 4 holiday; 106 drunk drivers arrested

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RICHMOND, Va. — Five drivers, a motorcyclist, a teenage passenger and a pedestrian died in seven traffic crashes across Virginia over the Fourth of July weekend, according to preliminary reports.

The fatal crashes occurred in Chesapeake, Roanoke, Albemarle, Buckingham, Chesterfield, Lunenburg and Sussex. The double fatality occurred in Chesapeake.

From July 1 through July 4, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers, and cited 9,469 speeders, along with 2,590 reckless drivers — including one woman who was ticketed three times in one hour.

Troopers also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seatbelt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

The number of fatalities was doubled from the previous year, though still down compared to 2014 when there were 11 fatalities.

Police increased patrols over the holiday weekend, as part of Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). CARE is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

“State police will continue its concerted efforts during the summer months to reinforce the need for all motorists to drive to save lives on Virginia’s highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “To date, 345 lives have been lost to traffic crashes statewide. Let’s turn that devastating statistic around and work together through compliance, education and enforcement to save that many lives in the coming weeks.”