The 1-395 overpass above S. Glebe Road will now be known as the Trooper Jacqueline Vernon Memorial Bridge.
Vernon was the first female and black Virginia State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty. She was hit by a commuter bus on I-395 as she stopped a car for an HOV lane violation in 1988. She was 32 years old.
“She was a great person,” said Charles King, III, one of Vernon’s former classmates and coworkers. “I was privileged, and I thank God I got to meet her and she passed through my life.”
The dedication of the overpass, which is near where Vernon was killed, comes almost 30 years after her death.
The bill to dedicate the bridge was brought by Del. Robert Krupicka, who represents the 45th District in the House of Delegates and by Sen. Barbara Favola, who represents the 31st District in the state Senate.
‘This naming of the bridge is also a way to say thank you to our troopers,” Krupicka said.
Vernon was a good trooper and known as someone who had her coworkers’ backs, said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, who was her supervisor.
“I remember them saying after boxing class, ‘we don’t want to get in the ring with [Vernon], so she certainly held her own there,” Flaherty said.
The bridge’s dedication was “personal” to him as someone who knew Vernon. He considers all of the officers under him to be his kids, he said, and Vernon was one of them.
“Now as people pass up and down on 395, they’ll come to know her as well,” he said.
It is one way that people recognize and thank the troopers for their service, Flaherty said.
Virginia State Troopers were joined by Vernon’s family during the dedication. The naming of the bridge was something that both the family and troopers asked to see happen.
“Now when I look around I can say the day is done,” said Vernon’s brother Ronald Vernon. “The struggle is done. It is time to rest. Sleep well, my sister.”