Does Route 78 need a guard rail where crash killed NJ cop, driver?
TRENTON — Would a guard rail in the median of Route 78 have prevented a head-on crash that killed a Summit police officer and a Pennsylvania motorist this week? Current regulations say this stretch of the interstate is safe enough not to have one.
State Police on Thursday released the name of the driver whose car veered across Route 78 on Tuesday morning, leading to the death of Summit police officer Matthew Tarentino.
Archibald McGlashan, 68, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was the driver of a gray Toyota Camry that went across the grassy median from the westbound lanes onto the eastbound lanes, hitting Tarentino's car. The collision in Bernards caused Tarentino's car to hit a third vehicle also heading east, according to State Police.
Tarentino died at the scene while McGlashan was taken to Morristown Medical Center, where he died several hours later. Police had some difficulty locating family to notify about McGalshan's death.
State Police have not determined what caused McGlashan to drive onto the wrong side of the interstate.
State Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro, who offered condolences to the Tarentino's and McGlashan's families, said the DOT Roadway Design Manual requires median guide rails on high-speed access-controlled highways, such as interstate highways, where the median and shoulder width is 60 feet or less.
"The location of the crash on I-78 has a median width of approximately 80 feet, therefore median guide rail is not required," Schapiro said.
A YouCaring page created by the Summit Police Athletic League, meanwhile, has raised almost $300,000 for Tarentino's wife Victoria and their two young children, Robert and Raymond. A third child is on the way.
"Our family has been shaken to its core with the loss of the most tremendous man, our brother, Matt," a Tarentino relative wrote on the page. "He will always be remembered as a man of incredible strength and honor. For his family, we will remember his gentleness and devotion. The man doing puzzles on the floor or playing hide-and-seek with his children. The man who just always seemed to have the right answers. The bounce in his step; the flutter of his laugh; his jokes, both attempted and successful; his smile will never be forgotten."
Amy Cairns, spokeswoman for the city of Summit, said a "lovely" memorial to Tarentino has been created in memory of the department's community police officer.
Tarentino will be laid to rest Monday at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 35 Mountain Ave., Somerville, A viewing is scheduled for Sunday at the church from 4 to 8 p.m. A graveside service will be held at Resurrection Cemetery, 899 East Lincoln Ave., Piscataway.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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