US Rep. Luria remembers trusted advisor, confidant who died in auto-pedestrian crash

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police are learning more about a fatal auto-pedestrian accident Friday night at 69th Street and Atlantic Avenue. Police report the victim is 55-year-old Michael Francis Ott Jr. 

They also report the driver who hit him is not currently facing charges. 

This is not a story on more details of the tragedy, rather we want to emphasize the life of Ott.  

For that, we went to Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-Va.) who served under Ott in the U.S. Navy.  

“Mike and I served together in the Navy, and when I was a commanding officer, he was my boss so the commodore of the beach group,” she said. 

When Luria ran for Congress, she says it was Ott who offered to do anything he could to help.

“He really was a mentor to me.  Someone that I knew.  Someone I could reach out to for advice, and for guidance, and a really strong example for me, and for the other commanding officers, and for everyone under his command… The truth is, he was someone who listened and he understood, he had compassion and he was fair.” 

Ott would say under his command Luria would solve problems before Ott knew there were any.

“As a commanding officer, working under him as a commodore, I learned from every interaction that I had with him.” 

Ott became the face of the Luria campaign, appearing in what was one of her most-viewed political commercials.

“In November, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: support a Democrat,” he said with a beach scene behind him. 

The political ad gave Luria credibility with voters who may lean toward the Republican side of politics. Ott’s support as her commanding officer was critical to Luria’s successful campaign.

“It was about our relationship, and the things he knew about me, serving together that he would go public and support me… he came to me and said, ‘How can I help?'” she said. 

For Ott, however,  it was never about politics. It was about effective leadership in Washington.  

Ott continued in the ad: “Calling Elaine Luria a ‘Democrat’ misses the point. She is an outstanding commanding officer, a mother, and a tenacious leader who puts our country ahead of party,” he said.

Luria said Ott’s different perspective helped her immensely.

“Knowing that there was someone I can reach out to, someone to be very frank with, and someone who didn’t always agree with me about things, and to give me his perspective… to help me know and understand something.” 

Luria also spoke about Ott’s dedication to family.

“In this time of loss for those of us who knew him, and for his family, I want to take the opportunity to talk about him.  What he did as a father, as a Navy captain, as a leader, as a patriot,  and someone who served our country for 30 years,” she said. 

Ott would only miss a sporting event for his four boys if he was out of town. He was a devoted husband, and a treasured friend to countless others.

“You cannot have a conversation with Mike without having a conversation hearing about his family, and his love for his family, and what they meant to him,” Luria said. 

Ott was a personal friend.  His love of family and friends and good times and devotion to country are firmly etched in his friends’ memories of him.

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