2 killed in helicopter crash in Albemarle County

Members of white nationalists clash against a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville Virginia on Aug. 12.   
  Credit    Joshua Roberts  Reuters

McAuliffe said at a news gathering prior in the day that three individuals had passed on, evidently a reference to the lady who kicked the bucket in the auto accident and the two casualties of the helicopter crash.

The two Virginia State Police troopers who were killed in a helicopter crash amid violent clashes during a white nationalist rally Saturday were seasoned veterans, including one who was supposed to celebrate his 41st birthday a day later. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates were "assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville" when their aircraft went down, a police statement read.

The passenger, Berke Bates, 40, played hockey at the University of Tennessee with his brother, Craig Bates.

"He said it was an absolute mess", Cullen told the newspaper. Bates is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Lt. Cullen was the Aviation Unit Commander, a position he was promoted to in February of this year.

"Virginia State Police confirmed there were two fatalities on board the helicopter and no one on the ground was hurt", The Arkansas Journal reported.

At 4:51 p.m., Saturday (Aug. 12), a Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a statement on the deaths.

"Most profound sympathies to the families and kindred officers of the VA State Police who passed on today".

Bates had just joined the aviation unit in July - "a welcome addition", Flaherty said, "after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation".

A second eyewitness said that the helicopter crashed 15 yards in front of a home. Jay has flown us across the commonwealth for more than three and a half years.

Trooper-Pilot Cullen was 48 years old. "These legends were a piece of our family and we are essentially grief stricken".

President Trump addressed the troopers' deaths Saturday evening.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. The NTSB is sending investigators to the scene, he said. "You're all among the best this nation produces", Trump wrote.

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