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Virginia Reports 5 Michael-Related Deaths

Posted: Updated:
Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy NBC News) Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy NBC News)
Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy NBC News) Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy NBC News)
Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy VSP) Scene of a fatal accident in Hanover County (Courtesy VSP)
Scene along Mt. Harmony Road in Charlotte County (Courtesy VSP) Scene along Mt. Harmony Road in Charlotte County (Courtesy VSP)

Virginia authorities have confirmed five storm-related deaths in the state.

Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell told The Associated Press on Friday that four people drowned: three in the western part of the state and a fourth in central Virginia. He says a firefighter also was killed while responding to a two-car crash in heavy storm conditions.

The Hanover County Fire-EMS Department says Fire Lt. Brad Clark died at the scene when a tractor-trailer struck his fire engine around 9 p.m. Thursday, October 11. The department said that the fire engine had its lights and other emergency equipment activated, but roads were slick and the storm conditions were heavy.

Authorities say two others in his crew were seriously injured. The truck driver had to be extricated and also suffered serious injuries.

A Virginia State Police news release says 45-year-old James E. King Jr. of Dry Fork was caught in his vehicle in a flash flood Thursday around 3:30 p.m. A Pittsylvania County Sheriff's deputy and a local resident tried to rescue King, but the floodwaters were too deep and fast-moving. Volunteer firefighters and the State Police later found his body downstream Thursday night.

Caldwell says there were five suspected tornadoes in the state, but they are still awaiting National Weather Service confirmation.

The overall official death toll from Hurricane Michael is currently at 11.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


10/12/2018 Updated Release from Virginia State Police:

Charlotte County - 1 Confirmed Drowning Death; 1 Missing
Early Friday (Oct. 12), Virginia State Police Aviation and Search and Recovery Team divers returned to Mt. Harmony Road to assist the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office with ongoing search efforts for a missing motorist. At 7:28 p.m. Thursday, state police responded to assist the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office with a vehicle stranded in high water on a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road. The vehicle had three occupants who were clinging to the bridge railings. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office was able to pull one of the occupants, a 17-year-old male, to safety. The other two, adult occupants were swept away in the rushing floodwaters before the deputies could reach them. Overnight the remains of the adult male were recovered. The search continues now for the adult female.

Pittsylvania County - 1 Confirmed Drowning Death
In the Mt. Hermon community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police responded to help locate James E. King Jr., 45, of Dry Fork, Va., who was swept away from his vehicle. His vehicle got caught in a flash flood in the 600 block of Sandy Creek Road around 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 11). Despite the valiant efforts of a Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Deputy and a local resident to rescue King, the floodwaters were too deep and too swift for them to maintain contact with him. At approximately 10:37 p.m., Special Agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and local volunteer firefighters located King's remains downstream.

Hanover County - 1 Traffic Death Ruled Storm-Related
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Hanover County firefighter as related to Tropical Storm Michael. In Hanover County, at approximately 9 p.m., the Hanover County Fire & EMS had stopped at a crash scene on I-295 to render aid to those involved in a two-vehicle crash. The fire engine had its emergency lights activated while stopped in the far left lane and shoulder. A southbound tractor-trailer rear-ended the fire engine and struck four firefighters who were outside the fire engine. One of the firefighters, Bradford Clark, 43, of Mechanicsville, Va., succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Two other firefighters were transported to VCU Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries. A fourth firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Lester Labarge, 49, of California, Md., was also transported for treatment of serious injuries. He has been charged with reckless driving and was cited for defective brakes. The crash remains under investigation and additional charges are pending.

City of Danville - 2 Confirmed Deaths - Please contact the Danville Police Department for information.


10/12/2018 Release from Virginia State Police:

Since Tropical Storm Michael crossed into Virginia, the Virginia State Police have responded to dozens of calls for traffic crashes, stranded vehicles, downed trees, debris in the roadway and flooded highways.

State police is investigating at least one death related to a vehicle being swept off a Pittsylvania County road by flash flooding, and conducted rescue missions in Pittsylvania and Charlotte counties. State police is also investigating a two-vehicle crash in Hanover County that claimed the life of one firefighter and injured three others.

From 2 p.m. Oct. 11, 2018 through midnight, Virginia State Police statewide responded to approximately 300 traffic crashes and 230 calls for debris and downed trees in the roadway. The majority of the calls for service related to the heavy rains and strong winds originated in the State Police Salem, Appomattox, Richmond and Chesapeake divisions:

  • In the Mt. Hermon community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police responded to help locate James E. King Jr., 45, of Dry Fork, Va., who was swept away from his vehicle. His vehicle got caught in a flash flood in the 600 block of Sandy Creek Road around 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 11). Despite the valiant efforts of a Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Deputy and a local resident to rescue King, the floodwaters were too deep and too swift for them to maintain contact with him. At approximately 10:37 p.m., Special Agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and local volunteer firefighters located the King's remains downstream.
  • At approximately 8:45 p.m. Thursday in the Blairs community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue divers responded to an emergency call for three local volunteer firefighters whose boat had capsized. The firefighters were in a swollen stream attempting a rescue of individuals caught in the rising waters on a bridge. The fast-moving water pushed the boat into the bridge, which caused the boat to overturn and eject its three occupants into the water. The state police troopers were able to pull two of the firefighters from the water and the motorist to safety. The third firefighter was swept downstream, where a local resident was able to help pull him out and onto land.
  • At 7:28 p.m. Thursday, state police responded to assist the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office search for three individuals swept away from a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road. One of the individuals was safely rescued. Search efforts by the Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team and Charlotte County Sheriff's Office remain ongoing for the other two occupants of the vehicle.
  • In Hanover County, at approximately 9 p.m., the Hanover County Fire & EMS was stopped at a crash scene on I-295 rendering aid to those involved in a two-vehicle crash. Despite having its emergency lights activated, one of the stopped fire engines at the scene was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The impact of that crash struck four firefighters. One of the firefighters, Lt. Brad Clark, succumbed to his injuries at the scene; three others were transported to VCU Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was also transported for treatment of serious injuries. The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending. Photo from the crash scene is attached. Photo is property of the Virginia State Police, which grants permission for its publication/broadcast.

On Friday, Virginians in those areas hit hardest by the storm are advised to delay travel if possible. That allows VDOT and utility crews faster access to and work at clearing the roads of downed trees and power lines.

For the latest in road conditions and closures, call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org.