Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at

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13 died in car crashes statewide this Thanksgiving

There was a slight increase in statewide roadway deaths 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 in Virginia roadway incidents during the Thanksgiving holiday. The year before that, 10 people died in auto accidents during the holiday travel period.

Last year there were no local fatal incidents, but this year there were deadly crashes in Stafford, Fauquier and Louisa counties.

The Stafford incident involved Alexander Smith, 71, who was walking across Route 610 Sunday night when he was hit by a Suzuki SUV and killed.

Two other pedestrians were killed during the holiday period. One roadway death, in Fauquier, involved a motorcyclist.

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

“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 seatbelt,” 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 for failing to buckle up children

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


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