High-speed state trooper escort focus of meeting in New Jersey

April 25, 2012 3:51:18 PM PDT
New Jersey's top state law enforcement officials, including State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes and Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, discussed high-speed police escorts during a meeting Wednesday.

The meeting comes as officials are investigating allegations that state troopers provided an unauthorized escort to a group of luxury sports car drivers at 100 mph down the Garden State Parkway last month.

"We consider that to be a serious violation of public safety issues," Attorney General Jefffrey Chiesa said.

A violation that will not be tolerated - that was the message today from the new jersey attorney general when he and the state police superintendant met with command staff.

"Anytime the public safety's put at risk, it's a concern. It's a concern. It's why the colonel and i acted as we did on Monday," he said.

On Monday, two troopers were suspended without pay for allegedly leading that speeding caravan of luxury sports cars down the Garden State Parkway last month.

The description of the recent caravan is strikingly similar to what's captured on the Parkway in 2010: ultra expensive cars, often weaving in and out of traffic, with the apparent permission of New Jersey State Troopers.

"There were some very dangerous maneuvers that were occurring at high speeds during the course if this escort and it's really fundamental to the investigation that is going on right now," Col. Rick Fuentes said.

While Colonel Fuentes acknowledges that the videotape shows other motorists on the roadway at the time had reason to be concerned for their safety, he insists the majority of trooper-led escorts are necessary and safe.

"What I've seen over the years is that they make tremendous sound decisions on the conduct of these escorts, which makes this escort all the more disturbing to me as well as to the general public," he said.

Sgt. First Class Nadir Nassry and Trooper Joseph Ventrella without pay. Nassry's lawyer has said the escort was appropriate but speeding might be an issue. Ventrella could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the other alleged high-speed police escort in 2010 is still pending.

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