A New Jersey state trooper was killed and another was injured early Saturday morning when their cruiser struck a deer on an interstate highway, ran off the side of the road and hit a tree.
Anthony Raspa, 24, was killed in the crash, which occurred on I-195. The injured trooper, 29-year-old Gene Hong, was treated at a hospital for lacerations and a neck injury.
Raspa graduated the 152nd state police academy class in October 2013. He lived in Middlesex County and was based at the Hamilton Township station in Mercer County.
In a statement, Raspa’s family said he was “a phenomenal young man with a heart of gold and a passion for life.” They also said he was passionate about working in law enforcement and took “great pride” in being a trooper.
Authorities say the last trooper to die while on duty was James Hoopes, who died in 2012 after suffering a heart attack during a training session.
The last traffic-related death of a trooper was Marc Castellano, who was struck by a car in June 2010 while outside of his vehicle on I-195. Castellano and other officers had been investigating a woman’s claim — later found to be false — that a man had forced her at gunpoint to speed away from a traffic stop.