TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two New Jersey State Police troopers have been punished for their alleged roles in facilitating a high-speed caravan of luxury vehicles at speeds of more than 100 mph.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office announced Monday that Sgt. First Class Nadir Nassry, 47, assigned to Totowa Station, and Trooper Joseph Ventrella, 28, assigned to the Troop B Tactical Patrol had both been suspended without pay. Nassry has been a trooper for 25 years and Ventrella has been on the force for six years.
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Video posted to YouTube showed footage from an incident two years ago, but authorities said a similar scene played out last month and now the two troopers are paying the price.
Charles Sciarra, the lawyer for Sgt. Nassry, told CBS 2 that high-speed caravan escorts have been going on for decades.
“The idea that my client has not been suspended without pay after a 25-year career, which is blemish free, is really stunning and it’s clear that it’s a reaction to the press accounts than it is the events in question,” Sciarra told 1010 WINS.
Sciarra said his client had been scheduled an interview last week regarding the matter, which he said was being “investigated in a normal course.” He said he believes the suspension is a reaction to the press surrounding the incident.
The lawyer also said that Nassry wants to cooperate and is preparing a defense.
“Whether this [escort] was done in full accordance with the rules and regulations is an area — that’s appropriate for investigation,” Sciarra added.
Gov. Chris Christie also weighed in on the matter Monday, saying the alleged state trooper escort of the caravan was a “dumb thing to do.”
“I just shook my head. You know, what are you gonna do? It’s a completely ridiculous story. It shouldn’t have happened, dumb thing to do, but let me assure you it’s not the last dumb thing that we’ll see happen,” Christie said Monday.
New Jersey’s Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa is investigating the incident involving Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris down the Garden State Parkway. All the vehicles’ license plates were covered with tape, witnesses have said.
“We will not tolerate any conduct by a member of the State Police that puts the public in jeopardy, as this unauthorized caravan had the potential to do,” Chiesa said in a statement.
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“Let’s fix it. I’m confident the attorney general and the superintendent of the State Police that they will — that the folks who were responsible for this will be held accountable,” Christie said.
YouTube Footage From The 2010 Event (WARNING – GRAPHIC LANGUAGE)
Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, now with the San Francisco 49ers, was reportedly among those traveling in the caravan.
When asked to confirm the report, Jacobs’ agent, Justin Schulman, told the Newark Star-Ledger: “Brandon was part of a group that went down to Atlantic City on March 30.” Schulman otherwise declined to comment on the purpose of the trip or who else was involved.
Jacobs infamously proclaimed he had “nothing positive to say” outside of his “family at home” and “a fast-a– car being delivered” after the home fans at MetLife Stadium mercilessly booed him in a win over Miami last October.
Witnesses have said that the state police patrol cars — with emergency lights flashing — were driving in front of and behind the caravan. The witnesses said many drivers struggled to get out of the caravan’s way, including one who almost ended up in a ditch.
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