Two Die in Augusta County Crash, Governor’s Statement on Loss of Commissioner

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement Friday afternoon on the passing of Dr. Hughes Melton, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS):

“Pam and I are deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Hughes Melton, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Dr. Melton passed away today from injuries he sustained in a car accident on Wednesday. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Melton’s wife, daughters, and family and friends. We also extend our prayers and sympathies to the family of Hailey Green, a young woman from Staunton who was killed in the accident.

“Dr. Melton was a fellow veteran and physician. In 2018, I appointed Dr. Melton to serve Virginia as our DBHDS commissioner, a role he filled ably and with enthusiasm. His public service also included his previous appointment as Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, as well as service on a number of boards and groups devoted to improving the medical profession, health policy, and addiction treatment. Dr. Melton for many years made his home in Southwest Virginia, where he built a well-respected career as a family physician and addiction expert

“Not only was Dr. Melton a devoted public servant and physician, I considered him a friend.

“Our thoughts are with all who knew and loved both Hughes Melton and Hailey Green.”

Former Delegate Chris Saxman posted about the accident earlier this week on Facebook and noted Dr. Melton was a friend and fraternity brother who, at that time, was at UVA Medical Center in critical condition. Eighteen-year-old Ms. Green died at the scene.  On Friday Chris posted that Dr. Melton had not survived the crash and noted:

Dr. Hughes Melton passed away as a result of the car accident on Wednesday. Governor Northam released a statement linked in this report. Prayers up for his soul, the soul of the other victim, and their families. Hughes was my fraternity brother and an exceptional person. Amici.

Augusta County native Hailey Green was a 2019 graduate of Fort Defiance High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society, the A.I.M. competition cheer team, and an Athletic Trainer. She had received her Nurse’s Aide certificate from Valley Career Technical Center. A member of the H.O.S.A. (Health Occupations Students of America), she was to begin fall classes at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg. Her obituary is here.

Background:

-WHSV: Friends, community mourn death of Hailey Green

-WTVR: Virginia commissioner dies following head-on crash that killed 18-year-old

Staunton News Leader: Dr. Hughes Melton dead following crash that also killed Staunton teen

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia’s top mental health official, Dr. S. Hughes Melton, dead at 52 following car crash