New Jersey State Trooper Anthony Raspa, killed in the line of duty in a car crash this weekend, will be laid to rest Thursday in Somerset.
Raspa's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Matthias Church, 168 Kennedy Blvd., in Somerset, according to a New Jersey State Police news release. Raspa's family, officials said, has requested that his service be private.
The crash that claimed the 24-year-old trooper's life occurred shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday on I-195 in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County, when Raspa's cruiser struck a deer, ran off the side of the road and hit a tree. Another trooper in the cruiser, 29-year-old Gene Hong, was treated for lacerations and a neck injury but survived the crash.
“Anthony Raspa was an outstanding trooper and role model. He was highly regarded by his peers and supervisors alike and had limitless potential in his chosen profession. We are devastated by his passing," N.J. State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said in a statement as funeral arrangements were announced. "His family will always remain a part of our State Police family."
State Police Capt. Stephen Jones said after the crash that the two troopers had been patrolling eastbound on a stretch of the highway when their Ford Crown Victoria hit the deer. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Further information about the accident has not been disclosed.
Raspa graduated with the 152nd state police academy class 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 Saturday, 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.