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Ex-Hillsdale Cop Killed In Apparent Drag Racing Crash In Ramsey

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Kelsi Tichacek (left) and Salvatore Benanti (right) have been charged in connection with Monday night's crash. (Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office)

Kelsi Tichacek (left) and Salvatore Benanti (right) have been charged in connection with Monday night’s crash. (Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office)

RAMSEY, NJ (CBSNewYork) – A former police officer is dead following a high speed crash on Route 17 in Ramsey and prosecutors believe drag racing is to blame.

Ex-Hillsdale police officer Cameron Arki, 26, of Rutherford, lost control of his white BMW shortly before 10 p.m. Monday and crashed into a truck in a moving company’s parking lot, Bergen County prosecutors said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“It was excessive speed. You don’t do damage like that especially around here,” Anthony Fazio, the owner of the moving company, told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.

The impact of the crash shifted the 20,000 pound truck about 75 feet.

Fazio arrived on scene within minutes of the crash and said Arki’s parents were there screaming and crying over their son’s death.

“The truck you can replace but you can’t imagine what the family feels like, you know?” Fazio said.

Police say Arki and Salvatore Benanti, 26, of Franklin Lakes started racing just south of Upper Saddle River. Witnesses say that the two men’s BMWs were racing each other at speeds in excess of 100-mph.

There was no evidence of contact between the two vehicles and neither Benanti nor his passenger Kelsi Tichacek, 19, of Paramus were injured in the crash. Tichacek and Benanti remained at the scene however it is alleged that they lied to investigators regarding the events leading up to the collision.

Both Benanti and Tichacek have been charged with 3rd degree Hindering Apprehension, Benanti has also been charged with Reckless Driving and Racing on a Highway. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said that additional charges may be considered as the investigation continues.

Tichacek was released on her own recognizance, Benanti posted $10,000.00 bail with a ten percent option. The pair will have their first appearance in Upper Saddle River Municipal Court on January 10.

Drag racing is common in the area, according to locals.

Police are still investigating.

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