Update: Raspa family would like the funeral on Thursday, June 4 to be open to the public. The initial information from the State Police indicated a closed funeral, but apparently that only applied to the media. The Planet just confirmed this information with the most recent State Police update. Visitation is on June 3, Wednesday, Law enforcement agencies are welcome to send members to join funeral detail. Official Obituary appears in “Milestones.”
The New Jersey State Police announced that the funeral for New Jersey State Trooper Anthony Raspa #7425 will be held on Thursday, June 4, 2015, at 11 a.m., at Saint Matthias Church, 168 Kennedy Boulevard, Somerset, N.J. Law enforcement agencies are welcome to send members to join the funeral detail. Visitation is on Wednesday, June 3, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saint Matthias Church. However, reportedly the Raspa family has requested that the church service remain closed to the media, but open to the public.
“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. His family will always remain a part of our State Police family,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
To respect the family’s wishes, media will not be permitted inside the church during the service.
A member of the State Police will be available to speak with the media prior to the funeral service. Media should arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. There will be a media area available outside of the church that will offer a view of the funeral procession.
New Jersey State Police initially on Saturday, May 30, 2015 reported that 24-year-old state trooper Anthony Raspa died after the cruiser he was driving early Saturday morning struck a deer, ran off the side of the road and hit a tree along Interstate 195.
State Police spokesman Capt. Stephen Jones says Trooper Anthony Raspa died at CentraState Hospital in Freehold.
A second trooper who was in the Ford Crown Victoria, Trooper Gene Hong, 29, was hospitalized with lacerations and a neck injury.
Mr. Raspa was a Middlesex County resident who graduated from the 152nd State Police Academy class in 2013. He graduated from Bishop George Ahr High School in Edison in 2008 and reportedly then went onto the University of Delaware before attending the State Police Academy.
In a statement, Raspa’s family said, “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.” In addition to law enforcement, Mr. Raspa was passionate about sports, particularly wrestling, and about helping his community of friends, family and colleagues.
Highland Park Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler articulated the emotions being felt by so many Highland Park residents with the following statement:
“Highland Park is a small, closely knit community. Our children grow up playing with each other in our driveways and basements. No matter what schools our children attend, the friendships made in Highland Park stay with our children throughout their adult lives. Here in Highland Park, we live the saying “it takes a village”. Anthony Raspa was Elizabeth and Sal Raspa’s son, but he was also, as his family has always been, an integral part of our “village”. This is a loss for all of us in Highland Park who were blessed to know him and his family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elizabeth and Sal Raspa, and the entire Raspa family.”
The crash happened at 12:48 a.m. near exit #8 (Route 539) in Upper Freehold just east of the New Jersey Turnpike. Both troopers were assigned to Hamilton Station and on duty. No other vehicles were involved in the crash. The accident closed down the eastbound side for most of the night for investigation and cleanup of the incident. The investigation is on-going.
State Police say this is the first accident in the line of duty for New Jersey State Police since James Hoopes died in 2012. The last traffic related death was Trooper Marc Castellano, who was struck by a car while outside of his vehicle on Interstate 195 in Wall Township in June of 2010.
STATEMENT FROM THE RASPA FAMILY
“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.”