Troopers' widows sue state, VSP, others in helicopter crash

Virginia State Police Trooper Lt. H. Jay Cullen (L) and State Trooper Berke Bates (R) were killed Saturday when the helicopter they were piloting crashed
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The widows of two Virginia state troopers killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville are suing the state and others, blaming their husbands' deaths on a "maintenance nightmare."

Amanda Bates and Karen Cullen filed wrongful death lawsuits Monday against Virginia, the Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security and state police.

Berke M.M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen had been monitoring the "Unite the Right" rally on Aug. 12, 2017, before their helicopter crashed.

The lawsuits say the helicopter was a "maintenance nightmare" with a history of malfunctions.

Federal transportation safety investigators expect to issue a final report on the crash next year. A preliminary report did not offer a likely cause.

Spokeswomen for the defendants said they couldn't comment on pending litigation.

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