Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police, has reported that Sgt. J. Michael Phillippi, 65, died early Saturday following a traffic crash.

A passerby found Sgt. Phillippi unresponsive in his damaged patrol vehicle about 2:20 am on Chatham Road / Route 57 near Pennrail Road in Martinsville.  The passerby alerted authorities and summoned assistance.

Henry County Sheriff Department and EMS personnel provided CPR and other advanced life support assistance to Sgt. Phillippi at the scene and while en route to Memorial Hospital in Martinsville.  Additional Life Support measures were taken at the hospital but Sgt. Phillippi could not be revived and he later died.

An investigation showed that Sgt. Phillippi was east bound on Chatham Road and the unmarked Chevrolet Impala patrol vehicle left the roadway on the right side and struck a sign post.  The patrol vehicle then traveled across Chatham Road and continued off the road on the opposite side and struck an embankment.

The patrol vehicle sustained minimal damage which indicates that Sgt. Phillippi was traveling at a low rate of speed.  Sgt. Phillippi was found by EMS personnel still seated in his patrol vehicle wearing his seatbelt.

The State Police personnel were unaware of any medical conditions that Sgt. Phillippi may have had, but it appears that he suffered a heart attack while on duty.  The State Medical Examiner in Roanoke will be conducting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.

Colonel Flaherty stated that Sergeant Phillippi was highly respected in the State Police for his leadership, strong character, integrity and dedication to the agency’s mission.  He was totally loyal to the troopers he supervised and mentored as well as the community he served.

His death has saddened all State Police officers across the Commonwealth and especially law enforcement personnel in the Martinsville area as well as Henry and Patrick Counties where he was assigned to patrol for the past few decades.

Sgt. J. Michael Phillippi was a 42 year veteran of the Virginia State Police and is survived by his wife.  Sgt. Phillippi spent his working life exhibiting the values of the Virginia State Police: Valor Service  Pride.

EOW: Saturday, January 11, 2014.

“Graphic created by Fellow Officer Rose Borisow GraFX”

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