Virginia Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Virginia Health Commissioner Succumbs

Virginia's Behavioral Health Commissioner dies following crash

August 02, 2019 - 5:47 pm

Richmond, VA _  The Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has died from injuries sustained during a 3-vehicle crash Wednesday in Augusta County that also left a Staunton teen dead.

Virginia State Police say the crash occurred just before 1 p.m. on Route 254 near Kiddsville Road.  They say a 2018 Hyundai Tuscon driven by Dr. Samuel Hughes Melton, 52, of Bristol, was heading east when it tapped the rear bumper of a 2018 Subaru CrossTrek.  The Hyundaid then crossed the center line and hit a westbound 2003 Toyota Solara head-on.

Melton was taken to UVA Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries Friday.  The driver of the Toyota, Hailey Green, 18 of Staunton, died at the scene.  The driver of the Subaru, Jean Scheeren, 55, of Waynesboro, wasn't hurt in the crash.

All of the drivers were wearing seat belts.

State police say further investigation has revealed that Melton may have suffered a medical emergency, which is being investigated as a factor in the crash.

Governor Ralph Northam, in confirming Melton's death, issued the following statement:

“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.”