State police are investigating the death of one of their own in an early morning crash in Henry County.
Below is the release we received from State Police:
"With heavy hearts, Virginia State Police are still investigating the cause and circumstances surrounding a crash involving a revered Department supervisor. Saturday's death of Sgt. J. Michael Phillippi became the Department's 60th line of duty death."
There was a moment of silence this morning at the governor's inaugural prayer breakfast to honor Sergeant J. Michael Philippi.
State Police said they responded to a crash just before 2:30 this morning and found Phillippi inside his unmarked Chevy Impala.
When rescue crews arrived, they say he was wearing his seat belt. The 65-year-old later died at the hospital.
So far the investigation has revealed that the car ran off the road, striking a highway sign, then ran off the road again and hit an embankment.
Officials say evidence suggests that speed was not a factor. The medical examiner in Roanoke will determine cause of death.
State Police also released this information:
"Sgt. Phillippi, 65, was working the overnight supervisory shift for the Salem Division at the time of his death. He has spent the majority of his 42 years with the Department assigned to the Virginia State Police Area 42 Office, which encompasses the City of Martinsville and the counties of Henry and Patrick. A native of Gate City, Va., he joined the state police May 1, 1971, and was promoted to sergeant in February 1990. Sgt. Phillippi is survived by his wife."
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