UPDATE: Washington Township Sgt. Arsenio Pecora was returning home from Fort Dix after attending night time/low light training for the Bergen County Rapid Deployment Team when his township cruiser struck two people who were walking in the traffic lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike, local police said tonight.
“A. J.” Pecora, a 20-year veteran of the township police department, was appointed in August 1995.
He was promoted to the rank of Corporal in 2000 and then to the rank of Sergeant in 2014.
He served as the Firearms Range Master, Firearms Investigator, Active Shooter Instructor, Field Training Officer, Bergen County Rapid Deployment Squad Leader, Defensive Tactics Instructor and School Security Assessment Officer.
Township Police Chief Glenn Hooper said that Pecora “has an exemplary Service Record and has received numerous professional awards and commendations throughout his career.”
“The Township of Washington Police Department extends their thoughts and prayers to all those involved in the tragic incident,” the chief said tonight.
TODAY’S EARLIER CLIFFVIEW PILOT ACCOUNT (12:05 p.m.):
A New York City couple were walking in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike in Secaucus after their SUV had become disabled on the other side of the highway when they were struck and killed by a Crown Victoria police cruiser car driven by a Washington Township (Bergen County) officer at 1:06 a.m., State Police said in a release.
“The preliminary investigation revealed that Jason Champion, 41, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Nuwnah Laroche, 34, of East Elmhurst, were traveling in a 2001 Cadillac Escalade when it became disabled on the southbound side of the roadway,” the release says.
“Sometime later, both individuals were pedestrians in left, northbound lane in the area of milepost 115, when they were struck by a Washington Township Police car driven by 46-year-old Officer Arsenio Pecora.
“According to the Washington Township Police Department, Officer Pecora was returning from training at Fort Dix at the time of the accident.
“The victims were pronounced deceased on scene at 4:33 a.m. via telemetry.”
“A.J.” Pecora, a 20-year department veteran who’d attended several-hours-long training that began at 3 pm., sustained minor injuries in the 1 a.m. crash.
He was brought to Hackensack University Medical Center after an off-duty Little Ferry police officer summoned help.
Police Chief Glenn Hooper and other members of the department remained with him at the hospital overnight.
The New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Unit, Crime Scene Investigation Unit, with personnel from the NJSP Newark Station, were investigating.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Unlike certain other media, CLIFFVIEW PILOT sees no reason to publish the officer’s salary or driving record.
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