State police helicopter turned upside down before fatal crash — Witness


This happened just a short drive outside of Charlottesville where multiple people were injured and one person killed Saturday during various altercations resulting from "pro-white" protests that were taking place there.

The passenger, Berke Bates, 40, played hockey at the University of Tennessee with his brother, Craig Bates.

Their helicopter crashed in a wooded residential area around 5 p.m. Saturday while they were patrolling the unfolding events in Charlottesville.

Police dispersed the rally after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency Saturday morning.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team", the statement said.

"It lost some parts, [they] seemed to fly off, and then it came down relatively quickly", he added.

Cullen was 48-years-old, and according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, he was a married father of two. Jay has flown us across the Commonwealth for more than three and a half years. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter. "These heroes were a part of our family and we are simply heartbroken".

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said the cause of the crash had not been determined.

This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth.

"It was very apparent that the pilot was trying to gain control of the craft", Robby Noll, who was doing yard work in Albemarle County, told CBS6. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

"Our state police and law enforcement family at large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. And at this time we do have two confirmed fatalities. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.