Police & Fire

Summit Cop, a Resident of Somerville, Killed in Route 78 Accident

82eadfd2288577ac54f0_sompixcopmatthewtarentino.JPG
Somerville resident Matthew Tarentino, a police officer in Summit, was killed in a 3-car accident on Route 78 Tuesday morning. Credits: Courtesy Summit Police
1910b1f2712df0d26df7_sompixsummitpolicetarentino1.jpg
Summit police Officer Matthew Tarentino speaks to students about drug abuse. Credits: Courtesy Summit Police
c3509fe116b04ef465fb_sompixdareofficers.jpg
Summit police Officer Matthew Tarentino, far left, recently completed a DARE teacher's certification course at the Somerville Elks in Bridgewater. Credits: Courtesy DARE America
82eadfd2288577ac54f0_sompixcopmatthewtarentino.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Matthew Tarentino, a Summit police officer driving from his home in Somerville to a school assembly, was one of two people killed early Tuesday morning in a three-car accident on Route 78.

Tarentino, 29, a longtime resident of the borough, is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 2 and 4; his wife is expecting a third child shortly, according to Msgr. Seamus Brennan, rector of Immaculate Conception Church where Tarentino and the family worshipped. He was very involved in parish activities, according to the monsignor.

“Clearly, this is a difficult time for the family, the church and the parish,” Rev. Brennan said, “but we will soldier on and support the family however we can. He will be greatly missed by his parish family.

Sign Up for E-News

 “This is also a huge loss for the Summit Police Department,” he added. “They loved him as a police officer and as a friend.”

The accident occurred at 6:20 a.m. when a car headed westbound on Route 78 in Bernards crossed over the grass median and struck Tarentino’s vehicle, who was headed east, and a second car. Both drivers, whose identities are unknown, were taken to Morristown Medical Center; the hospital confirmed the death of the second driver several hours later.  The extent of the third driver’s injuries is unknown.

The accident shut down Route 78 eastbound causing extensive traffic delays during rush hour. State Police are investigating the accident.

"With great sadness, the City of Summit Police Department announces the death of police Officer Matthew Tarentino at 6:20 a.m.," Summit police said in a statement.

 

Tarentino was the Summit Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, and was a familiar fixture in Summit’s schools, where he conducted DARE programs.

He was on his way to speak with a group of 5th-graders about the dangers of drug abuse when the accident occurred.

Two weeks ago he had received his certification to be a DARE mentor, trained to educate other police officers to work with the program. He was one of 20 DARE police officers enrolled in the program, held at the Somerville Elks Lodge 1068 in Bridgewater.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy,” said Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher. “All of Somerville’s thoughts and prayers are with the Tarentino family."

The mayor, who jogs to stay in shape, would cross paths frequently with Tarentino who was also a runner.

“He was just such a nice guy, with a wonderful family,” Gallagher said.

Tarentino’s involvement with Immaculate Conception School goes back to his years as a student there in the late 1990s. After graduating eighth grade, he attended Immaculata High School, graduating in 2006; his wife Vickie also attended IHS, graduating in 2005. She is the director of Marketing at IHS.

Tarentino was a member of the marching band and concert band and played varsity tennis while a student at IHS, according to Ken Greg, a 1983 graduate of IHS who lives a few blocks from the Tarentinos. Both families have been friends going back several generations. Greg took drum lessons at Connie's a music studio on Davenport Street that was owned by Tarentino's grandfather and in later years, his father.

"I'd describe him as one of the nicest people I ever met, he had a good soul and never had a bad word to say about anybody," Greg said.

Tarentino was also president of the Immaculate Conception School Advisory Council, working with Msgr. Brennan and Sister Mary Chapman, school principal on curriculum, technology in the classroom, planning programs and activities.

One of those programs was the school’s annual Blue Mass tribute March 30 to honor the men and women of law enforcement, with over 100 police officers from more than one dozen departments in attendance.

Summit Police Chief Robert Weck issued the following statement:

“In a tragic accident earlier today, the Summit Police Department and the entire city of Summit lost a valued officer, community member and friend. This loss has greatly affected not only our law enforcement community and the citizens of the city of Summit, but people far and wide.

“Matthew Tarentino epitomized what a law enforcement officer should be: a respected, trusted colleague with unshakeable dedication and enthusiasm for his calling. He was the face of the department’s community policing unit and understood the importance of building relationships within Summit.

“This was validated by our department being recognized last week by the NJ State Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino with the 2017 Outstanding Community Policing award. To those who have reached out to our department, we thank you. Your support has been extraordinarily touching and is a clear indication of how well respected Officer Tarentino was in our community.

“ During his short time with us, Matt created a lasting imprint on our department and the city. While Officer Matthew Tarentino may be gone, he will never be forgotten. The coming days, weeks and months will undoubtedly be difficult for all of us. We ask for the continued support of the community and for everyone to keep his wife, two boys and family in your thoughts and prayers.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Cruising with Autism on the Seas

July 13, 2018

This is a event that includes the partnership and collaboration of Cruise Planners, Autism Friendly Escapes and WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do!. WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do is a non-profit 5013c, organization that supports families that have autistic and special needs children through advocacy, social play dates, resources, workshops, community support, seminars and family ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e733205e1006a416118b_unnamed__1_

Thu, August 2, 5:30 PM

Redstone American Grill, Bridgewater

NAWBO Central & Northern NJ Invites Women ...

Business & Finance Giving Back

Thu, September 6, 6:00 PM

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Union

41st Annual Greek Festival

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

July 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

New Restaurant Buys ‘Pocketed’ Westfield Liquor License

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council approved the transfer of a liquor license to Westfield Hospitality LLC for its Westfield Fish & Brew Company during the council's meeting Tuesday night. The license had been bought from Jeffrey’s when it closed in 2014 and remained unused, or “pocketed,” by that owner until now.

Though the restaurant does not ...

Piscataway Woman Identified as Victim in Fatal MVA on July 4th

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Jessica Montes, 28 of Piscataway, has been identified as the victim in the 4th of July fatal motor vehicle accident on New Brunswick Avenue. Montes, who was a phlebotomist leaves behind her son as well as numerous family and friends.

A small shrine with candles and pictures has been erected at the site of last Wednesday’s tragedy on New Brunswick ...

Body Pulled From Delaware River

KINGWOOD, NJ – First responders are on the scene here at the Delaware River and are pulling the body of a man from the water Friday, June 6.

“The worst has happened,” said Greg Crance, who owns Delaware River Tubing, a popular nearby tubing, rafting, kayaking and canoeing outfitter on the river.

However, the victim is not one of his customers, Crance said.

The body was ...

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

July 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

"Xtreme" Adventures for Teens in Somerset County

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center  has scheduled a challenging summer program series for teens 13 to 16.

“Xtreme Adventure” is a summer-long series of one-day outdoor programs that will entertain and educate teen girls and boys. All adventures begin at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...