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ODMP Remembers...

Lieutenant Pilot Henry John Virginia State Police, Virginia

Lieutenant Pilot

Henry John "Jay" Cullen, III

Virginia State Police, Virginia

End of Watch: Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 48

Tour: 23 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Aircraft accident

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Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke Bates were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area in a residential neighborhood on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia.

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.

Lieutenant Cullen had served with the Virginia State Police for 23 years and was assigned as the commander of the Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Colonel W. Steven Flaherty
Virginia State Police
7700 Midlothian Turnpike
North Chesterfield, VA 23235

Phone: (804) 674-2843

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Trooper Pilot Berke M. M. Bates
Virginia State Police, Virginia
End of Watch: Saturday, August 12, 2017
Cause: Aircraft accident

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My sincerest condolences go out to the families and all the lives touched by both Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates.

Jay was my first flight instructor when I attended Randolph-Macon Academy.

He was, by far, the most influential instructor I've had in my career. Mind you, I began flying at the age of 14. He showed incredible patience and just had the "knack" of instilling genuine confidence. He helped me maintain determination and confidence when I was severely injured and had to fight to keep my dream alive. Although he was my instructor, I considered him a friend and certainly someone that played a crucial role in my life.

I lost touch with him a few years after I left R-MA and actually I was just recently trying to track him down for the shear purpose of thanking him.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. One of my most cherished memories will always be you jumping out of the plane after landing, flipping me the bird in jest with a smirk before my first solo. Tailwinds Jay.

Galen Grass
August 20, 2017


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