The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Labor Day highway toll lower
BY SCOTT SHENK
This Labor Day weekend was relatively safe compared with last year’s.
According to preliminary reports by the Virginia State Police, 10 fewer people died on Virginia roads during the final summer holiday of 2012, which ran Friday through Monday. Six people died in crashes this year, compared with 16 deaths on roads statewide in 2011.
The deadly crashes happened in five counties, including Stafford and Fauquier. One crash, in Rockingham County, killed a pedestrian; another, in Hampton, was a motorcycle crash. The other four people who died in crashes weren’t wearing seat belts. An apparent drunken driver was involved in at least one crash.
The Stafford crash happened about 5 a.m. Saturday on Poplar Road, according to police. A 20-year-old Fredericksburg man died after the southbound Toyota Camry he was driving ran off the road on a curve and into a ditch before plowing through mailboxes and slamming into a utility pole. Philip Oliver was ejected from the car and died at the scene, according to state police.
The crash remains under investigation.
The Fauquier crash happened on U.S. 17 at about 3:50 p.m. on Friday. A Hyundai Accent ran off the right side of the highway near Interstate 66 and hit a fence and a tree, which spun the car around into another tree. Todd W. Nichols, a 28-year-old from Bentonville, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he later died. That crash, too, is still being investigated.
Troopers were out in force over the holiday weekend.
They charged 112 people with drunken driving, cited 8,187 for speeding and charged another 2,459 with reckless driving.
The state police responded to 715 crashes statewide.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436