February 05, 2004
N.J. State Trooper Killed in Car Crash
Officer Down: Bertram T. Zimmerman III - [Dennis Township, New Jersey]
By Geoff Mulvihill, The Associated Press
BUENA VISTA, N.J. (AP) -- A state trooper responding to a convenience
store robbery was killed Thursday when his patrol car crashed into a
The crash happened about 3 a.m. on State Highway 83 near U.S. 9 in
Trooper Bertram T. Zimmerman III was taking part in an operation to
try to catch a suspect in a string of robberies at Wawa convenience
stores since last summer, State Police Superintendent Col. Joseph
"Rick" Fuentes said.
Just before 3 o'clock, police received a report of a man robbing a
Wawa store in Dennis Township. Troopers spotted a Lincoln Town Car
speeding away on U.S. 9 and pursued it.
State police said troopers arrested the suspect in Middle Township.
The man's identity was not released.
State police said Zimmerman, who had been staking out another
convenience store, was responding to the robbery call when his patrol
car crashed. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
"This is an extremely painful time for the entire State Police
family," Fuentes said. "Trooper Zimmerman lost his life serving the
public by doing a job that he loved."
Zimmerman, 32, lived in Gloucester Township. He enlisted in the State
Police on March 14, 2001, and served in several southern New Jersey
stations, most recently at Buena Vista.
Fuentes said it's an accomplishment for a trooper to be assigned to
the elite tactical patrol unit so quickly.
"He was in that assignment because he was a high-energy trooper," Fuentes said.
Zimmerman is survived by his wife, his mother and a sister.
Gov. James McGreevey visited the trooper's family to offer his condolences.
"Throughout his three years as a state trooper, he demonstrated great
courage and professionalism to protect our citizens," McGreevey said.
"We will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers."
State legislators paused for a moment of silence in Zimmerman's
memory at the beginning of the Assembly's session Thursday afternoon.