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The craziness of the 2012 holiday travel season is behind us, but Fredericksburg-area travelers didn't make it through Christmas and New Year's unscathed.
There were two deadly local crashes during the holiday period, one of which was a hit-and-run. Statewide, the Department of Motor Vehicles reported 15 traffic-related deaths from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1.
As it turns out, the end of 2012 mirrored the entire year locally, as more people died on area roads than in 2011, according to statistics from the DMV.
In the Fredericksburg region--including the city and eight counties--65 people died in crashes during 2012. The year before, 52 died.
The spike in deadly crashes can primarily be attributed to a jump in fatal crashes in Culpeper County. One person died on Culpeper roads in 2011. Last year, 13 died in Culpeper crashes.
Stafford and Spotsylvania, which have much more traffic than other localities, led the way with the most crashes, injuries and deaths.
While more people died on local roads in 2012, crashes and injuries dropped.
Overall in the region there were 6,320 crashes and 3,481 injuries in 2012, according to DMV statistics. The year before there were 7,440 crashes and 4,061 injuries reported.
As for the two deadly holiday crashes, both involved local residents.
One happened on Dec. 27 in Spotsylvania when an Oldsmobile driven by Spotsylvania resident Teresa Dawn Sullivan ran off the road and hit a culvert and embankment.
Sullivan, 35, died at the scene.
In the other accident, a Stafford man died after a hit-and-run crash on U.S. 17 in Fauquier County.
The incident happened shortly after 6 p.m. on Dec. 23 when a Ford F-150 rear-ended a southbound 2004 Scion, according to Virginia State Police.
The Scion driver, Douglas Rabren, 58, of Stafford, died at the scene. A passenger, Debra Rabren, 59, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with serious injuries.
Police are still searching for the suspected driver of the pickup truck, Diego Vazquez Mendoza, 32, of Culpeper.
Anyone with information on Mendoza is asked to call the state police at 540/829-7771 or email Trooper T.B. Ralls at
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ginia.gov.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436