Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 13, 2017

Virginia State Police (VSP) released the names of two deceased aviation personnel after a helicopter crashed Saturday just outside of Charlottesville, Va. No one on the ground was injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the helicopter crash. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.

"Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth".

Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session.

Bates was recruited by the Virginia State Police from Florida, his father said, where he distinguished himself as a highway patrolman by rescuing a young girl who had been kidnapped.

Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons, while Bates is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter, Virginia State Police confirmed.

"Jay was the greatest son a person could ever have, a great father to his two sons, a loving husband to his wife Karen and he was doing something that he loved", Henry Cullen said.

Bates joined the aviation unit as a trooper-pilot last month and was flying with a fellow police veteran Saturday. Berke Bates, who would have turned 41 Sunday, was just beginning to realize a lifelong dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team". Jay has flown us across the Commonwealth for more than three and a half years. "Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years", he said.

He went through his second round of law-enforcement training at the Virginia State Police Academy, graduating with the 107th Basic Session in August 2004. Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this hard time.

"These heroes were part of our family and we are simply heartbroken", McAuliffe said Saturday evening.

The crash happened just a few hours after a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally.

Stay on WAVY.com for developments in this story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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