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N.J. troopers suspended over reports of aiding 100 mph trip

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey's attorney general suspended two state troopers without pay Monday, one of them a 25-year veteran, amid reports they served as escorts last month for a group of high-performance luxury cars on a 100-mph trip down the Garden State Parkway, alarming other motorists.

An attorney for one of the troopers, meanwhile, called the suspension of his client a public relations move made in the heat of a media spotlight that had intensified by Monday afternoon.

Suspended were Sgt. First Class Nadir Nassry and Trooper Joseph Ventrella. Nassry has been with the state police for 25 years and Ventrella for six years.

The alleged incident occurred March 30. Witnesses who emailed the state Turnpike Authority to report the incident said they saw two state police cruisers escorting the speeding cars, one in front and one in back.

According to Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney, one witness said he saw flashing lights in his rear-view mirror and had to speed up to get over to the right and out of the way. Once there, he said, the cars "raced by" at speeds upward of 100 mph. Their license plates allegedly were taped over.

Another witness said he saw the cars weaving in and out of traffic at high speed.

"We will not tolerate any conduct by a member of the State Police that puts the public in jeopardy, as this unauthorized caravan had the potential to do," Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. "We are thoroughly investigating this incident, and those responsible will face serious discipline."