Seven people died in traffic crashes in Virginia over a three-day period including the Fourth of July holiday, and 79 were charged with drunken driving, state police said.
The holiday weekend’s six fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Highland, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Nelson, Pittsylvania and Spotsylvania; the Spotsylvania crash on July 5 resulted in two deaths. Altogether, the crashes claimed the lives of four drivers and three passengers. Four were not wearing seat belts, state police said in a news release.
“Unfortunately, thousands of drunk, speeding and reckless drivers kept Virginia State Police busy and put countless lives at risk during the 2019 July Fourth holiday weekend across the commonwealth,” spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in the release.
The holiday statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. on July 3 and concluded at midnight on July 5.
“Recognizing the potential for more holiday travelers and festivities with July Fourth falling on a Thursday this year, we made certain to have every available trooper working Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend,” Col. Gary T. Settle, the Virginia State Police superintendent, said in the news release.
“Even though state police did its part to enhance its response times and traffic safety enforcement efforts, too many motorists still put their lives and others at risk during the holiday weekend by failing to drive smart, safe or sober.”
During the department’s Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, or C.A.R.E, state troopers accused 79 drivers of drunken driving and issued 5,389 speeding citations and 1,752 citations for reckless driving.
Troopers also issued 723 seat belt citations.