RICHMOND — Eleven people died as the result of car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Virginia, the Virginia State Police (VSP) reported on Monday.
Of the 11 fatalities across the commonwealth, eight were not wearing seat belts. Alcohol was a factor in at least four of the fatal traffic crashes, the VSP said.
Two of the fatal crashes occurred in Mecklenburg County, including one that claimed the life of a passenger and injured eight others. The 76-year old victim of that crash was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle as it overturned several times.
The remaining crashes occurred in the City of Norfolk and the counties of Bedford, Carroll, Chesterfield, Frederick, Hanover, Henrico, Louisa and Prince George. The Norfolk crash claimed the life of a pedestrian.
The VSP responded to a total of 1,140 traffic crashes statewide during the holiday period that began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and concluded at midnight Sunday.
Last year 14 individuals died in 13 traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period in Virginia, the highest number of fatal crashes for the holiday since 2009, when 16 people died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways.
During the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend, troopers participated in the nationwide Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) program. The state sponsored traffic safety enforcement program focuses on reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.
As part of Operation C.A.R.E. this holiday period, the VSP cited 9,841 drivers for speeding and another 2,697 statewide for reckless driving. Troopers arrested 98 impaired drivers and issued 772 seat belt citations and 218 child restraint violations. Troopers also assisted 3,341 motorists.