Remember that 100-mile-an-hour caravan of sports cars the State Police led to Atlantic City last year? It was quickly and permanently dubbed, 'Death Race 2012.' We now know the fate of two Troopers involved.

Death Race 2012 Courtesy: Youtube
Courtesy: Youtube

Sgt. First Class Nadir Nassry, who led the March 30, 2012 caravan and enlisted the other trooper in the unauthorized escort, pleaded guilty today to a fourth-degree charge of falsifying or tampering with records.

Trooper Joseph Ventrella, a seven-year veteran of the State Police who assisted in the unauthorized escort, also appeared in court yesterday. He agreed to waive indictment and be charged by accusation with fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records.

"They've both been permanently barred from law enforcement positions and Nassry has also barred from public employment in New Jersey," says State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa. "I think the way we resolved the case protects New Jersey and sends the right message to the State Police that you cannot engage in this kind of conduct and expect not to have a criminal record. Remember, Nassry's going to have a criminal record for the rest of his life."

In pleading guilty, Nassry admits that he used black electrical tape to change the numbers on the license plates of his troop car in order to conceal his participation in the unauthorized escort.

Ventrella did not plead guilty to the charge. The state has agreed to allow him to apply for and enroll in a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program, if approved by the court. If he successfully completes PTI, the charge against him will be dismissed.

"You've got to hold yourself to a very high level of standard, a very high level of conduct," explains Chiesa. "The message is simple; you cannot, as a State Police officer, conduct yourselves as these two troopers did."

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police is also commenting on the case.

"As members of the State Police, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard to maintain the public's trust," says Fuentes. "When we fail to adhere to those standards, we need to ensure that any violations are taken seriously and disciplined accordingly. The actions of these members should not overshadow all of the great work and service provided by the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the New Jersey State Police."

Pension Implications

Ventrella is not eligible for a State pension because he was not on the force long enough. Nassry is eligible, but that doesn't mean he'll collect.

"That's not an issue that we get involved with, but I think there is an administrative process that happens," says Chiesa. "I'm not sure the details of that, but I think it could impact the pension."

Going Forward

Chiesa is confident we won't be seeing any more so-called Death Races led by State Troopers in the Garden State.

"We went back and took a look at these issues and we want to make sure that there's no misunderstanding going forward," explains then AG. "I am confident that going forward we have the right prescriptions in place and I think through this case we're sending the right message to everybody else."

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