Bloomingdale Trooper Suspended After 'Death Race'

By reporting a state trooper-escorted caravan of sports cars, John Kennedy unwittingly became part of a national story.

A state tropper from Bloomingdale is one of two who were suspended Monday without pay for his alleged involvement in a high-speed, state-trooper escorted drive of sports cars down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City last month.

Trooper Joseph Ventrella of Bloomingdale, has been suspended without pay, according to an Attorney General's Office news release. He was a member of the force for six years and was assigned to the Troop B Tactical Patrol Unit, the Attorney General's Office said.

Madison resident John Kennedy was one of two motorists who reported the incident, which has now become a national story. He just wanted authorities to be aware of what he saw.

"My intent was to inform the State Police of my observation and not to be in the paper or any other news media," Kennedy said in an email. "I respect and trust the State Police to take care of the situation."

But after his complaints were obtained by the Star-Ledger, Kennedy's name and report appeared in the newspaper's story about the caravan, dubbed "Death Race 2012" by Wayne Gantt, the other motorist who filed a complaint, according to the newspaper's report.

Since then, reporters have been reaching out to Kennedy, the Attorney General's Office has announced an investigation of the matter, a video of another 2010 trooper-escorted rally surfaced, and the two troopers, Sgt. 1st Class Nadir Nassry of Phillipsburg and Ventrella, have been suspended.

Nassry, 47, a trooper of 25 years, was assigned to Totowa Station. 

“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,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. “We are thoroughly investigating this incident, and those responsible will face serious discipline. The mission of the New Jersey State Police is to ensure the safety and security of the people of New Jersey, and the overwhelming majority of troopers nobly and responsibly fulfill their duties. We will not let the acts of a few tarnish the entire force.”

The superintendent of the state police said such activity would not be tolerated.

“The acts indicated during the early stages of this investigation are squarely against the principles of the New Jersey State Police," the superintendent, Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, said. "As troopers, we cannot require the public to obey laws that we are not willing to uphold for everyone equally. I will not tolerate this egregious breach of public safety and those responsible will be held fully accountable."

The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police said they are investigating "the unauthorized escort by state troopers of a group of sports cars down the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway." No charges or summonses have been filed.

dweezie48 April 24, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Let's hope something good comes out of this. This should not be tolerated at all!! I was left stranded in my car with my wife and disabled daughter on route 80 near the Delaware Water Gap for 3 1/2 hours last year, watching 6 state troopers drive by during that time, and not one stopped. After filing a complaint, I was told they did nothing wrong. Turns out the call from NJDOT Roadside Assistance to the State Police was never logged, but, they did nothing wrong!!! It's a shame that the few always make the many look bad, when I know the majority of the force is top notch!!
Paul April 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM
The part that bothers me the most is my tax dollars pay for those vehicles however small that amount is. It should not be used for such nonsense. I only hope we don't have any repeat incidents and everyone on the force gets the point to this matter. We do not need cowboys driving around at speeds like that. I am glad no one was hurt it would of cost the state of New Jersey alot of money if a motorist was hurt during this outlandish stunt.
CShorShell July 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I watched the youtube video. They are lucky no one was killed, especially the kids who filmed the high speed escort. Anyone from the NJSP involved in this should lose their job, face criminal charges, and lose their entire pension (with the exception of what they actually contributed over the years. I don't care how many years they have put in. Their failure to use proper judgement negates it all. And if there was an order given from a commanding officer, they should have said, "respectfully sir, I do not feel comfortable leading this escort." This is completely unacceptable! I have no sympathy. They made a choice and now they must face the consequences, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!


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