Wreck claims business owner

Published 9:31 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

COURTLAND—A Franklin resident and business owner was killed Friday morning in a one-vehicle accident near Courtland.

Bennie Earl Cullipher Jr., 47, of Harvest Drive in Franklin, was driving a 2008 Ford pickup on Storys Station Road, or Route 611, about a half-mile east of Flaggy Run Road, or Route 650, when he ran off the road to the right and overturned just before 10 a.m., according to Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Cotten.

Cullipher died at the scene. Cotten said reckless driving and failure to maintain proper control were contributing factors in the crash.

Cullipher was a contractor and operated Bensel Homes Inc.

Contractor Lee Thompson, who worked occasionally with Cullipher, said he was “a good guy to deal with.”

Sedley resident Jimmy Lusk worked as an electrician for Cullipher in the past. He said Cullipher was always “a straightforward guy” who handled himself well and took pride in his work.

“He was a good guy. He was also good at what he did,” Lusk said.

“It’s a terrible thing,” Lusk said of the accident.