UPPER FREEHOLD - State police say one New Jersey state trooper was killed and another injured in a crash on I-195 in Upper Freehold.
The crash occurred on the eastbound side of the highway near exit 8 at around 1 a.m. Saturday. State police say the troopers' car struck a deer, swerved off the road and crashed into some trees. No other vehicles were involved.
The 24-year-old trooper who was killed has been identified as Anthony Raspa.
The injured trooper has been identified as 29-year-old Gene Hong. He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, and is expected to be OK.
Both troopers were assigned to Hamilton Station and on duty at the time of the crash.
"Anthony was a phenomenal young man with a heart of gold and a passion for life," Raspa's family said in a statement. "He will forever be in our minds and in our hearts. The family is so appreciative of all of the love and support."
The Raspa family owns a jewelry store in his hometown of Highland Park.
Raspa's high school wrestling coach Nick Tonzola says the late officer often came back to town to help his former wrestling team.
"Wrestling is a very hard sport, it takes a lot of discipline and character and courage," Tonzola said. "Anthony embodied all of that."
The last state trooper killed in a highway crash was in 2010, when Mark Castellano was struck outside his patrol car on I-195 near Farmingdale.