2 off-duty NYPD officers, 1 a groom on wedding day, die in crash
Maj. Pierce Gallagher said he believed the officers were not wearing seat belts
SHANDAKEN, N.Y. — Two off-duty New York Police Department officers, one of them a groom on his wedding day, died in the crash of a rented 2018 Maserati after celebrating at the reception, police said Monday.
The groom, Officer Michael Colangelo of Huntington Station, Long Island, and Detective John M. Martinez, of Hauppauge, Long Island, died late Sunday in the town of Shandaken in Ulster County, about a mile from a resort where the wedding had taken place.
Martinez was driving when the car left the road, struck a tree and overturned around 11:30 p.m., state police said. A third person in the car who police say was not the bride suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Tragic loss for the #NYPD after 2 off-duty officers die in a car crash. It happened in Ulster County last night after Canine Officer Michael Colangelo (on right) had just gotten married. His friend, Det. John Martinez was driving when the car struck a tree & flipped over. pic.twitter.com/ncrz7h0wwM— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) May 21, 2018
"As far as we can tell they were taking this car out for a ride," said State Police Maj. Pierce Gallagher. "I feel comfortable saying that the speed was excessive."
The speed limit on the road is 40 mph and Gallagher said he believed the officers were not wearing seat belts, but the backseat passenger was. He said police were waiting autopsy and toxicology results.
The officers previously had worked together in the NYPD Special Operations Division. Martinez was most recently assigned to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn.
Colangelo, who moved in with his girlfriend two or three years ago, was "very friendly, very outgoing," neighbor Patti Orsini told Newsday . "He would always lend a helping hand when...I was doing yard work and needed a little muscle."
He was part of the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit canine team and Orsini said Colangelo "just loved that dog," named Jimbo.
"He'd walk the dog around the neighborhood every day and say hello to everybody," said another neighbor, Ray Spatafora. "He was a real good neighbor and a real good guy."
For now, State Troopers believe excessive speed played a role in the one car crash that killed two off duty #NYPD officers from Long Island on Sunday night. @FiOS1NewsLHV @FiOS1News_LI pic.twitter.com/Ll5DCMW1nB— Jonathan Gordon (@JGordonFiOS1) May 21, 2018
The Rev. Michael Lopez, an NYPD chaplain, met with Martinez's colleagues.
"He was a great, outstanding guy and they love him," Lopez said, adding that fellow officers were taking the loss "very hard."
Thomas Martinez, the victim's brother, said the detective was "a good dad and a good husband" who spent his time off with his family.
Being a police officer "was what he wanted to do ever since he was a little kid," he said.