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U.S. Army criminal investigators looking into death of local soldier

The U.S. Army helicopter crash that killed a Charlottesville native and graduate of the University of Virginia ROTC program is under investigation for possible criminal activity.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is continuing to look into the March 30 crash of two HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters at Wright Army Airfield, between Fort Stewart and Hinesville, Georgia.

The crash killed Capt. James Bellew, 26. Bellew was a trained medevac, or medical evacuation, pilot and his brigade commander described him as a top officer in his unit. Subordinates have also praised Bellew since his death.

“The loss of James is an immeasurable tragedy to his family, friends, crew and fellow soldiers,” said Col. Eric Vanek, in a prepared statement.

But exactly what happened to cause Bellew’s death is continued to be investigated, Lt. Col. Lindsey Elder, a spokesperson for U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division, told the Army Times.

Bellew was on the medevac on duty the night of the incident, Elder told the Army Times.

“Capt. Bellew was the only crewmember involved in the incident and he was the only one injured or killed in the incident,” explained Elder. “The initial indication is that all other crewmembers were asleep at the time of the incident.”

Elder declined to discuss with the publication how the aircraft were damaged or provide a timeline of events because of the ongoing investigation.


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