Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor, New Jersey Public Radio
Nancy Solomon is the Managing Editor of New Jersey Public Radio.
State troopers reportedly escorted a group of expensive sports cars traveling at 100 mph down the Garden State Parkway last month. It’s raising question about whether New Jersey is sending mixed messages about aggressive driving.
Governor Chris Christie just signed a bill last Friday that increased the penalties for aggressive driving.
“We consider this to be a serious offense against the people of New Jersey,” Christie said at the bill signing. “It's a huge deal.”
But more details and video of the incident are emerging. Eyewitnesses said the troopers led a long string of sports cars speeding along several New Jersey highways.
Janet Jervis of Franklin Lakes told The Star Ledger she encountered the trooper escorted caravan on the Garden State Parkway on March 30 at about 11 a.m.
“I pulled over because I was in the left lane,” Jarvis said. “Then the cars were coming on the left of me, the right of me, they were bullying and taking over the highway. They were zooming past us.”
The video below was taken by people in a car trying to keep up with the high speed escort. It contains some offensive language.
But State Police spokesman Stephen Jones said the position the State Police takes on aggressive driving is completely clear. “I don’t think we’re sending mixed messages. Two state troopers were suspended without pay. Does that look like we’re condoning it?”
Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa says the investigation into both the 2010 and recent incident is still ongoing.
New Jersey's top state law enforcement officials discussed high-speed police escorts during a meeting Wednesday.
A State Police spokesman says Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes invited to the meeting. Jones won't say whether a review of police escort policies was discussed or is currently under way.
Jones says there are guidelines for police escorts, but State Police won't release them. Jones says there aren't applications for police escorts and no central record of them.