They gave their lives upholding our tradition of Honor, Duty, Fidelity.
Badge: # 1605
Cause: Auto Accident
Site: NJ Turnpike MP # 108 NB Kearny, Hudson Co.
Stationed: Troop "D" Newark
Service Time: 2 years 11 months
Resided: Lyndhurst, Bergen Co.
Joseph P. DeFrino was born on October 17, 1936 in Lyndhurst, Bergen County, New Jersey. He graduated high school in Lyndhurst and attended Seaton Hall University.
Trooper DeFrino enlisted with the New Jersey State Police on June 29, 1959 as a member of the 55th State Police Class. He was stationed in Troop "B" and later Troop "D" Newark. His service with the Division was characterized by loyalty, fearless performance of duty and faithful and energetic devotion to the principles of the New Jersey State Police.
Trooper DeFrino died as a result of an automobile accident while in the line of duty.
On June 11, 1962, Trooper DeFrino was on patrol, riding north on the New Jersey Turnpike in Kearny, Hudson County, New Jersey. Troopers Milan Simcak and Arthur J. Abagnale, Jr. were passengers in the Troop car, being transported to Interchange #18 of the Turnpike where their private vehicles were parked. The weather conditions at the time were clear, bright sun and hot.
Trooper DeFrino was at milepost 108 north and was following a 1959 Mack Dump Truck off the Passaic River Bridge that had received a flat left front tire when his car was struck in the rear:
A 1945 A.C.F. bus was traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike in the center lane and struck a 1960 Buick sedan in the left rear corner and the bus mounted the rear of the vehicle.
The Buick sedan then crossed into the right hand lane and struck the retaining wall. The bus continued going straight ahead in the center lane and bypassed the Buick with the front of the bus. At this point, the Buick was returning back out into the right hand lane of the Turnpike on an angle facing west. The bus struck the front hood of the sedan with the right rear side of the bus causing the sedan to face north. The sedan then struck the retaining wall a second time.
The third impact occurred when the bus, still continuing north, went into the right hand lane and struck the rear of the Troop car, pushing it forward into the rear of the dump truck it had been following. When the Troop car made contact with the rear of the truck, the bus mounted the entire body of the Troop car, leveling it in the process.
The Buick sedan, after striking the retaining wall a second time, spun completely around facing south. It jumped the cat-walk with the left side of the vehicle, mounting the cat-walk and rolled backwards.
The vehicles finally came to a halt with the dump truck extending out into the left lane; the bus suspended on top of the Troop car on the center lane with the rear of the bus extending back diagonally and completely covering the right hand lane. The front end of the Troop car was embedded under the rear of the truck and the Buick sedan was mounted on top of the cat-walk, stopped behind the bus with the right rear corner of the sedan touching the right rear corner of the bus.
The distance between the elevated front portion of the bus and the rear of the truck was fifteen (15) inches. The front wheels of the bus were eighteen (18) inches above the roadway. The Buick sedan had finally stopped, facing south, 363 feet 5 inches from the initial impact.
Six civilians were injured. The three troopers, DeFrino, Simcak and Abagnale, were taken to West Hudson Hospital and were pronounced dead on arrival.
Trooper DeFrino served 2 years and 11 months with the New Jersey State Police.
Trooper DeFrino was survived by his parents. He was 25 years old.