Summit, N.J. Joins Together for Family Of Police Detective Killed In Crash

SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey community rallied Thursday to support the widow and children of a young Summit police detective.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Detective Matthew Tarentino died in a car cash, and now, his family is getting help from neighbors, businesses, and strangers.

“Matt was an unbelievable force in this town,” said Michael Freeman, state delegate for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Local 55.

That spirit for Tarentino is what drew a group of Summit middle school teachers out of routine Thursday to show their support.

“With a couple of young kids of my own, and obviously, Officer Tarentino had a few too. It’s a big deal what these folks do every day,” said Summit middle school teacher Ike Welsh. “They make a lot of sacrifices for us that I think a lot of people don’t think about.”

Detective Tarentino was killed on Route 78 while driving to work in May. His death sent shockwaves through the community.

“Matt was very enthusiastic about his job; came in, was never in a bad mood,” said PBA Local 55 President Charlie Robertson.

On Thursday, two restaurants – Piattino and the Office Tavern on Union Place – are donating 15 percent of their proceeds to Tarentino’s family.

“This was such a tragic event that, you know, we felt it was the least we could do,” said Michelle Papier of the 40 North Restaurant Group.

The 29-year-old Tarentino is remembered as a loving husband and father of two. His wife, Victoria, is pregnant with a third child.

Fellow detective Freeman said the family is holding tight to their faith.

“She’s got tremendous strength, and I’m very impressed with her and what she’s able to pass onto her children,” Freeman said.

Mayor Nora Radest said Summit is a town that rallies for its citizens.

“It will help for her — all of her bills; help put money away for the children for college, and that sort of thing,” Radest said.

Tarentino was the DARE officer in the schools.

“When it comes to community policing, that’s where he started, and he got involved in the kids,” Freeeman said, “Soo many people knew him.”

The goal was originally to raise $500,000 for the family. That has been reached, and now the goal is $700,000.

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