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9 killed in traffic crashes over 2017 Fourth of July weekend

RICHMOND, Va. – Preliminary numbers show that nine people were killed on Virginia highways over Fourth of July weekend, an increase from 2016.

The nine fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Norfolk and the counties of Amherst, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Henrico, Montgomery, Orange, Rockingham and Surry.

Last year, traffic crashes claimed a total of eight lives on Virginia highways.

Four killed were not wearing seat belts, according to Virginia State Police.

“Sadly, the number of fatalities on our highways increased this year during the holiday, which is unacceptable,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

In one incident in Rockingham County, a motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was killed in a head-on collision with drunk driver.

“A moment is all that it takes for a crash to occur, but taking a moment before you drive to put on your seat belt or your helmet, to put the phone down or to make the decision not to drive drunk or drugged could save a life,” said Flaherty.

Among the nine deaths, four motorists were passengers and five were drivers.

Over the four-day statistical counting period, Virginia State Police investigated a total of 671 traffic crashes statewide.

Under Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), troopers cited 10,238 speeders and 2,677 reckless drivers over the holiday weekend.

They also arrested a total of 114 motorists believed to be drunk driving.