Friday, July 27, 2012
N.J. State Troopers Sgt. 1st Class Nadir Nassry and Trooper Joseph Ventrella who gave 100-mph escort to “Death Race” caravan charged
Earlier this year, videos of a "Death Race" convoy of Ferraris, Ford GTs and other sports cars being led up the Garden State Parkway at speeds of up to 100 mph by New Jersey State Troopers caused an uproar -- and embarrassment for one of the drivers, then-New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. After a long investigation, New Jersey officials have now charged two troopers for providing the free escort and attempting to cover up their roles. New Jersey won't let you pump your own gas on its turnpikes, but from now on the supercar rallies will be strictly self-service.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa charged Sgt. 1st Class Nadir Nassry and Trooper Joseph Ventrella with fasifying records, after the two used electrical tape to hide their license plates during the drive in March and told rally drivers to do the same so that toll cameras couldn't capture their speed. Nassry, a 25-year veteran, resigned Wednesday, saying Ventrella deserved some leniency but denied criminal wrongdoing, saying in a statement:
"I fully realize this matter has caused my superiors significant embarrassment and also has impacted the trust that the public has with regard to the great character of the New Jersey State Police. For this, I must take full responsibility."
The investigation revealed that the escorts had been granted routinely to the Driving Force Club, a New York-area collection of about 25 supercar owners including Jacobs who were driving to Atlantic City. (The "Death Race" name came from one of the bystanders who filed a complaint.)
In addition to the two troopers charged for this year's race, five other troopers face administrative charges for a drive in 2010 which was caught on video by a pair of over-stimulated, potty-mouthed motorists, who saw the drive speed by a trooper giving tickets to slower motorists.
As for the supercar owners who actually drove their cars at triple-digit speeds, they will not face punishment because the statute of limitations on their tickets has expired. It's too bad, because New Jersey rest stops could always use a few extra hands on trash pickup.