A New Jersey state trooper was killed and another was injured when their cruiser struck a deer on an interstate highway, ran off the side of the road and hit a tree.
State police officials said 24-year-old Anthony Raspa was killed in the crash, which occurred at 12:48 a.m. Saturday on I-195 in Upper Freehold Township.
The injured trooper, 29-year-old Gene Hong, was treated at a hospital for lacerations and a neck injury.
State Police Capt. Stephen Jones said the two troopers were patrolling eastbound on a stretch of the highway in Monmouth County when their Ford Crown Victoria struck the deer. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Further information about the accident has not been disclosed.
Raspa was a graduate of the 152nd state police academy class, which graduated in October 2013. He lived in Middlesex County and was based at the Hamilton Township station in Mercer County.
In a statement posted to the New Jersey State Police facebook page, his family said, "Today our family lost an incredible son, brother, grandson, cousin, friend and person. Anthony was a phenomenal young man with a heart of gold and a passion for life. While he is no longer physically with us, we are so grateful for the 24 years of love and loyalty we shared with him. Anthony was passionate about law enforcement and took great pride in being a NJ State Trooper. He will forever be in our minds and in our hearts. The family is so appreciative of all of the love and support. We ask that you respect our privacy at this time as we continue to grieve."
Authorities said 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 were investigating a woman's claim _ later found to be false _ that a man had held her at gunpoint and forced her to speed away from a traffic stop.