PISCATAWAY, NJ – In a moment of salute and honor, more than 1,000 members from the law enforcement community from departments around Northern and Central New Jersey led family and friends in a processional motorcade along Hoes Lane in Piscataway and into Resurrection Cemetery for a graveside service where Summit police officer Matthew Tarentino, who was tragically killed in a three-car accident on Route 78 last Tuesday, May 30, was laid to rest.
Tarentino, a long time resident of Somerville where a funeral mass at that town's Immaculate Conception Church preceded Monday's procession, was a Summit D.A.R.E. officer on his way to speak to a group of fifth graders about the dangers of drug use when the early morning accident occurred.
Another driver crossed the median on Route 78 in Bernards Township, striking Tarentino's vehicle which then struck another car, according to State Police. The driver who crossed the median later died at Morristown Medical Center, where the third driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
"It's a sad situation when something like this happens, not just to this officer, but anybody within the law enforcement community," said Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler. "From what I understand from a lot of his colleagues up in Summit, he was a well liked, well beloved D.A.R.E. officer. In Piscataway we have a lot of our D.A.R.E. officers working with the school district. I think this is exceptional because he is as in tune with a lot of the younger folks in Summit as our officers are here in Piscataway."
"So it's really sad knowing he lost his life, but more importantly his family he's leaving behind, his wife and kids there, I can't picture what would happen with my own family," Wahler continued.
The Summit Police Department posthumously promoted Tarentino to the rank of Detective.