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Louisa road fatality one of 11 in Virginia

A crash in Louisa County accounted for one of 11 fatalities on Virginia roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Monday.

Stephen Joseph Matusky, a 52-year-old from Virginia Beach, was killed in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 64, six-tenths of a mile east of State Route 613 in Louisa on Wednesday about 10:15 p.m., state police Sgt. Joe Landry said.

Matusky was driving a 2008 Nissan Frontier that drifted off the highway to the right, hit a guardrail and ejected him, Landry said.

Alcohol appeared to be a factor in that fatality and at least three others during the period that stretched from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through midnight on Sunday, according to information from Geller and Landry.

State police responded to 1,140 traffic crashes during the holiday period.

The other traffic fatalities occurred in the city of Norfolk and Bedford, Carroll, Chesterfield, Frederick, Hanover, Henrico, Mecklenburg and Prince George counties, Geller said in a news release Monday evening.

Eight of the 11 people killed were not wearing a seat belt, Geller said.

In 2012, 14 people were killed in 13 crashes during the Thanksgiving period, making that the most fatal crashes for the holiday since 2009, according to Geller.

In 2009, 16 people were killed on Virginia roads during the Thanksgiving period.

State troopers took part in the annual nationwide Operation CARE—for Combined Accident Reduction Effort—through the holiday period, Geller said.

During that effort, state troopers cited 9,841 people for speeding and 2,697 people for reckless driving. Another 98 people were arrested for impaired driving, 772 were cited for seat-belt violations and 213 were cited for child-restraint violations.

Troopers also assisted 3,341 drivers during the effort.

As people move into the Christmas and New Year’s holiday seasons, state police remind people to avoid impaired driving from drugs or alcohol.

State police offered the following tips for safety.

  • Designate a sober driver before celebrations begin.
  • Plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.
  • If you are impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or take public transportation.
  • If someone you know is drinking, don’t let him or her behind the wheel.
  • Contact police if you see an impaired driver on the road.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972