Photo of interstate salute to late law officer goes viral

A Virginia State Police trooper saluted a fallen Virginia Beach Sheriff's deputy while stopping traffic for the funeral procession. (Courtesy Julie Armstrong)
A Virginia State Police trooper saluted a fallen Virginia Beach Sheriff’s deputy while stopping traffic for the funeral procession. (Courtesy Julie Armstrong)

A picture of a state trooper saluting a late trooper’s funeral procession while stopping traffic Tuesday on Interstate 64 has grabbed the Internet’s attention.

Julie Armstong, a Chesapeake resident and Virginia Beach native, shared the moment on Facebook and it took off from there. It was shared 3,505 times within two hours. By Thursday morning it had been shared 11,146 times from Armstrong’s page and liked 7,405 times on the Virginia State Police’s page.

“I am just blown away,” Armstong commented Wednesday on her original post. “My phone has been beeping and clicking all day.”

The funeral procession was for the late Joseph “J.J.” DellaVecchio, an investigator who supervised the sheriff’s Background Investigation Unit. He was a State Police trooper for 25 years before joining the sheriff’s office in 2004.

DellaVecchio died Oct. 21 from a heart attack at the age of 62.

Here is Armstrong’s full post:

“So this happened on 64 today. Three state police cars with lights on slowly stopped all traffic just after the 264 off ramp. Once stopped they proceeded to get out of their cars and stand at attention. Immediately a procession of state police cars and a hearse moved on to 64. The police stayed at attention until the whole procession was a couple miles down the interstate. Then they returned to their cars and slowly returned us to normal speed on the interstate. What a terrific salute to a fallen officer.”

Hundreds commented.

“It was the same when our nephew was killed in Corpus Christi, Texas,” wrote Walter Cap Neilson on the State Police page. “It is indeed a Thin Blue Line, but it is an incredibly strong line.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated DellaVecchio’s position in the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.

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