The State Police sergeant who led an unauthorized escort of a high-speed sports car caravan to Atlantic City in 2012 pleaded guilty today to a crime for altering the numbers on the license plates of his troop car with electrical tape during the incident. He along with a second trooper who helped with the race have agreed to forfeit their jobs.

High speed caravan on Garden State Parkway (WNBC TV)

The incident quickly became known as ‘Death Race 2012.’

“The actions we announce today reflect a resolve to maintain the highest standards of conduct for the State Police, standards to which the overwhelming majority of state troopers adhere,” says State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa. “These troopers violated those standards and betrayed the public’s trust, undermining public safety and the reputation of the force. They are justly paying a high price for their poor judgment. Both men have ended their law enforcement careers, and one will have a felony record for the rest of his life.”

Held To A Higher Standard

Sgt. First Class Nadir Nassry, a 26-year State Police veteran who led the March 30, 2012 caravan and enlisted the other trooper in the unauthorized escort, pleaded guilty today to a fourth-degree charge of falsifying or tampering with records. In pleading guilty, Nassry admitted that he used black electrical tape to change the numbers on the license plates of his troop car in order to conceal his participation in the unauthorized escort.

Michael Breen & Brandon Jacobs in a picture taken on March 30, the same day as the race on the Parkway. Breen is the founder of the Driving Force Club that organized the race that Jacobs drove in. (Facebook)

Trooper Joseph Ventrella, a seven-year veteran of the State Police who assisted in the unauthorized escort, also appeared in court today. He agreed to waive indictment and be charged by accusation with fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. He did not plead guilty to the charge.



“As members of the State Police, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard to maintain the public's trust,” says Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “When we fail to adhere to those standards, we need to ensure that any violations are taken seriously and disciplined accordingly. The actions of these members should not overshadow all of the great work and service provided by the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the New Jersey State Police.”

The state has agreed to allow Ventrella to apply for and enroll in the Middlesex County Pre-Trial Intervention Program, if approved by the court. If he successfully completes PTI, the charge against him will be dismissed. As conditions of enrollment in PTI, Ventrella will forfeit his job with the State Police and will be permanently barred from any law enforcement position in New Jersey.