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NJ State Trooper's funeral Saturday

June 11, 2010 6:08:56 PM PDT
The funeral for a New Jersey State trooper killed in the line of duty will be held Saturday.Trooper Marc Castellano's family, friends and fellow troopers gathered Friday evening for an emotional wake at the Lakewood Funeral Home.

The 29-year-old trooper was killed when he was struck by a car on interstate 195 in Howell Township on Sunday.

Trooper Marc Castellano was searching for a suspect named Diana Hoffman on foot when he was hit by another vehicle.

Authorities have not said who hit Castellano. The investigation into the accident was continuing.

Hoffman, 30, has been charged with eluding police, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension and possession of cocaine and heroin. Monmouth County Executive Assistant Prosecutor Richard Incremona said a charge of false public alarm will be added. In that charge, prosecutors allege that Hoffman's actions led to Castellano's death.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully increased bail from $350,000 after Incremona said that Hoffman had eluded officers days ago in Tuckerton, had been cited three times in the past five years for failing to appear in court and was currently unemployed.

Castellano suffered multiple injuries. He was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune New Jersey, where he later died.

The abandoned vehicle was found on Interstate 195 westbound on the ramp at exit 31 in Howell Township.

Hoffman was later found hiding nearby in the woods and was taken into custody.

Hoffman told authorities that a man was riding with her, and dozens of troopers, local police and other law enforcement personnel spent hours looking for him.

Castellano was a married father of two young children who had been a trooper for five years and was a member of the Troop "C" Tactical Patrol Unit.

Trooper Castellano graduated as a member of the 136th New Jersey State Police Academy Training Class in September of 2004.

"The loss of Trooper Castellano is a difficult blow to absorb," said State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes. "The New Jersey State Police prides itself on being a family and the loss of our brother will be felt throughout the entire Division of State Police."

Fuentes said Castellano was "the embodiment of the finest ideals" of the state police force.

The funeral for New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at St. Veronica's Church on Route 9 North in Howell Township.

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