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Special fundraiser planned for 10-year anniversary of Clifton motorcycle officer’s killing

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

MARK THE DATE: As it draws nearer to 10 years since Clifton Police Officer John Samra was struck and killed by a van driven by a fleeing parolee, those who knew him best are planning a special beefsteak dinner to raise money for a scholarship in his name.

Samra was a member of both groups sponsoring the Nov. 17 event — the North Jersey Chapter of the Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club and Clifton PBA Local #36.

“John was an active member of our chapter and was extremely well-known in the community,” said motorcycle club member Brian Newman, a Bergen County Sheriff’s Officer. “He was also very active in the New Jersey Special Olympics.

“Ten years gone, but never forgotten,” Newman said, echoing the motto for the event.

Catered by the Brownstone Restaurant, the Sunday dinner will be held from 3-8 p.m. at the Wayne P.A.L. Entertainment will be provided by comedian/ventriloquist John Pizza.

TICKETS are $50 (Contact Newman: 551-265-5558 ).

Samra was on patrol in a residential neighborhood when he stopped the Plymouth Voyager around 10 o’clock the morning of Nov. 20, 2003. The driver took off, with Samra chasing him.

The officer positioned his cycle at the corner of Maple Place and Washington Avenue, but he was broadsided by the van.

The driver got out tried to run, but two civilians grabbed him.

Samra, 41, died of his injuries at what was then St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was the only Clifton police officer ever killed in the line of duty.

Luis Hernandez, who was driving while on the revoked list, was later sentenced to life plus 11 years.

Hernandez, 49, is eligible for parole in 20 years, New Jersey Department of Corrections records show. He would be only 69.

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