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Highway deaths up over holiday



Date published: 11/28/2012

BY SCOTT SHENK

There was a slight increase in highway deaths statewide during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year, according to the Virginia State Police.

Preliminary reports show that 13 people were killed on Virginia roads between Nov. 21 and midnight Sunday, state police reported.

Last year, 11 people were killed on Virginia roads during the Thanksgiving holiday. The year before that, 10 people died in auto accidents during the holiday travel period.

In 2011 there were no fatalities in the Fredericksburg area, but this year there were deadly incidents in Stafford, Fauquier and Louisa counties.

The Stafford fatality involved Alexander Smith, 71, who was walking across Garrisonville Road on Sunday night when he was hit by a Suzuki SUV and killed.

Elsewhere in the state, two other pedestrians were killed during the holiday period.

In other area accidents, a 22-year-old Centreville man died on Thanksgiving after the motorcycle he was driving ran off State Route 626 in northern Fauquier. In Louisa, a 23-year-old man died Friday after a car he was riding in ran off the road, overturned and hit a tree.

Police said alcohol was a factor in at least three fatal crashes. Five people who died weren't wearing seat belts.

"It's tragic to see such loss of life when we know the single most effective action an individual can take to protect themselves is to wear a seat belt," said state police superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty.

There were more troopers patrolling state roads during the Thanksgiving travel period, and they were busy. Here's the tally:

9,976 speeding tickets

3,099 reckless-driving citations

115 charged with driving under the influence

813 citations for seat-belt violations

280 citations for failing to buckle up children.

State police will continue to have beefed-up road enforcement through New Year's.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com