State police: Some members of 'Trump caravan' that snarled traffic on Parkway could be issued citations
New Jersey State Police are investigating an incident over the weekend during which a caravan of President Donald Trump supporters clogged traffic on the Garden State Parkway.
Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan expressed displeasure on Monday about the events that occurred.
“I want to be clear, that situation on the Parkway yesterday was incredibly irresponsible and dangerous,” Callahan said.
The caravan backed up traffic for 5 miles as hundreds of people showed their support for the president.
“I was glad to see that the troopers on the ground there took quick action and cleaned up that situation as safely and quickly as possible,” Callahan said.
Republican state Sen. Mike Testa, who is also the co-chair of Trump’s campaign in New Jersey, said that he believes that the caravan was done in response to the anti-Trump demonstrations that have been taking place around the country that last few months – some of which have turned violent.
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“I think they were trying to demonstrate that, you know, that while some things such as riots were labeled peaceful protests, they wanted to show the hypocrisy in that, that this caravan that was in support of President Donald J. Trump was truly a peaceful protest of sorts,” he said.
But Testa said that while he understands the enthusiasm, he is asking the president’s supporters not to disrupt travel in the state.
“It's dangerous and God forbid there is an emergency where someone does need to get to a hospital or if someone needs lifesaving measures from our local EMS, local first responders, that having the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike or any of our major highways blocked is not a good idea,” he said.
Col. Callahan said that troopers did not issue citations right away because they were concerned that it might make the traffic backup worse.
“The troopers’ primary objective yesterday, when that occurred, was to get that traffic moving again,” he said. “I never want to second-guess troopers and now being out there, but to start issuing citations out there probably would have hindered the troopers’ ability to get the Parkway flowing north.”
There are some questions surrounding a separate video that showed a state police vehicle blocking the entrance to the Cheesequake Service Area. Callahan said that the entire incident is under investigation.
He also said that motorists could face summonses for obstructing traffic and that the Department of Transportation is providing additional video for the investigation.