Chesterfield police unveil safe driving campaign, witness remembers fatal crash aftermath

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)— Chesterfield County police are honoring victims of fatal crashes with billboards and social media videos. It’s all part of a campaign called “In memory of..”

As summer approaches and more people hit the roads, police are encouraging people to drive safe and to avoid distractions.

Sergeant Stephan Rouze says the campaign began in March and will run through the month of April. Three new billboards have been put up around Chesterfield County with a reminder to drivers to travel safely in memory of the victims who died because of speeding, texting or drunk driving.

Rouze said the campaign series will feature Austin Greathouse, Noah Page, Karen Giles and Carla Smith — all victims of car crashes.

This week, the police department shared Giles’ story.

Giles was a volunteer firefighter for the Amelia Rescue Squad and an EMT instructor at John Tyler Community College.
Police said she died in a crash along Genito Road in Chesterfield County.

A dump truck driver was texting while driving. After almost running off the side of the road, the driver over-corrected his wheel and crashed into Giles’ car.

Melissa Cahoon, a Chesterfield resident who was the first person to respond to the scene, said the scene was terrifying when she got there.

“We ran over to the car and it was nothing but shattered glass and we knew,” she said.

Cahoon felt helpless and says she wishes she could’ve done more. As a nurse and mother, she went into action and called 911 while checking on Giles’ condition.

“She wasn’t replying,” she said.

Cahoon said the dump truck driver didn’t have any visible injuries. “I looked at him and the only words he could even fathom to say was ‘oh no.’

The driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Cahoon said drivers need to slow down and keep their phone out their hands, especially on back roads. “He knew that he not only took her life, but his as well,” she said.

Rouze said officers will increase their presence on the roads during the campaign in an effort to enforce the cell phone law.

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