Trooper Pilot Berke Bates and Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area in a residential neighborhood on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia, at approximately 6:30 pm.
They were in the area to monitor civil unrest that was occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a large protest. The helicopter had just taken off to monitor the Virginia governor’s motorcade after he arrived in the area to assess the situation. The helicopter experienced some sort of issue before crashing into the trees and becoming engulfed in flames.
Trooper Bates and Lieutenant Cullen were killed in the crash.
Trooper Bates had served with the Virginia State Police for 13 years and was assigned to the Aviation Unit. He had previously served with the Florida Highway Patrol for six years. He is survived by his wife and his twin son and daughter. He was killed the day before his 41st birthday.