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Police: 2 NYPD officers, including groom on wedding day, die in crash

The groom, Canine Officer Michael Colangelo, 31, lived in Huntington Station. Det. John M. Martinez, 39, of Hauppauge, was assigned to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn.

Two off-duty NYPD officers from Long Island — one a groom on his wedding day — died late Sunday in a crash upstate in a rented 2018 Maserati, police said. Authorities identified the men as Officer Michael Colangelo, 31, the groom, of Huntington Station, and Det. John M. Martinez, 39, of Hauppauge. On Monday, May 21, 2018, State Police held a news conference about the crash. Excessive speed was involved, police said, but the investigation is still preliminary. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Two off-duty NYPD officers from Long Island — one a groom on his wedding day — died late Sunday in a crash upstate in a rented 2018 Maserati, police said.

Authorities identified the men as Officer Michael Colangelo, 31, the groom, of Huntington Station, and Det. John M. Martinez, 39, of Hauppauge.

A third unidentified man, 28, of Wantagh, was in the backseat and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, State Police said.

Colangelo was a canine officer on the force for 10 years and Martinez, who joined the NYPD in 2001, was assigned to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, the department said Monday.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene in the Town of Shandaken, about a mile from the resort where Colangelo had his wedding reception. State Police said the Wantagh man was taken to Albany Medical Center.

State Police Maj. Pierce Gallagher said the Maserati’s speed before the crash was excessive, and the officers were not wearing seat belts. The Wantagh man in the backseat was wearing one, he said.

“As far as we can tell they were taking this car out for a ride,” Gallagher said Monday afternoon at a news conference.

Martinez rented the Maserati locally but State Police are unsure of whether he was driving when, about 11:30 p.m., it left the road, struck a tree, overturned and landed on its roof. That road’s speed limit is 40 mph, Gallagher said.

Autopsies were being performed Monday at 5:30 p.m, according to Trooper Steven Nevel. Toxicology tests were being conducted but results wouldn’t be complete for a couple of weeks, he said.

State Police, Town of Shandaken police, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters from several departments, as well as the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and emergency service officers from Shandaken all responded to the scene.

Colangelo and his bride had their wedding reception Sunday at the Full Moon Resort and many of the guests were staying there, according to police and the resort’s website. An employee of the resort declined to comment Monday.

Colangelo and his bride were listed on the wedding registry as well as the website, which said the couple planned to honeymoon in Costa Rica.

On the site, under the couple’s photo, is a caption asking for donations to their honeymoon instead of gifts, since they had lived together and had their share of “pots and pans.”

It read: “We know it’s not traditional but it would be a lot of fun, to have some items on our wedding list that will help us catch some sun!”

Colangelo and Martinez had worked together in the NYPD Special Operations Division, which includes the Emergency Service Unit.

Just a few months ago, Colangelo was one of 12 handlers to graduate from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit canine team. The officers and their dogs handle evidence searches, explosives detection and missing persons cases, according to the NYPD.

A neighbor of Colangelo said the officer had moved in with his girlfriend two or three years ago and he was “very friendly, very outgoing.

“He would always lend a helping hand when he saw when I was doing yard work and needed a little muscle,” Patti Orsini said, adding that Colangelo “just loved that dog,” named Jimbo, the German Shepherd police dog who lived with him.

Another neighbor, Ray Spatafora, said Colangelo loved being a canine cop. “He’d walk the dog around the neighborhood every day and say hello to everybody,” Spatafora said. “He was a real good neighbor and a real good guy.”

Martinez’s brother, Thomas, said the detective was “a good dad and a good husband” who spent his time off with his family.Being a cop “was what he wanted to do ever since he was a little kid.”

At Martinez’s precinct, purple and black bunting had already been draped at the entrance Monday morning.

The Rev. Michael Lopez, an NYPD chaplain, met with Martinez’s colleagues at the precinct.

“He was a great, outstanding guy and they love him,” Lopez said. His colleagues were taking the loss “very hard” and it’s “very sad.”

At the Syosset Fire Department, where Colangelo was a volunteer, Assistant Chief Pete Silver said: “It’s horrible. What a shock. He’s a good guy. Hard worker, positive energy. Mike was a natural leader.”

Silver said Colangelo — who became captain of the department’s Woodbury Co. 3 — was with the department from 2005 to 2016, resigning when he moved from the district.

“Everybody absolutely loved him and lamented when he had to resign,” said Silver, who added that Colangelo remained close to other members, some of whom attended the wedding.

“He was looking forward to his new life,” Silver said. “Mike was a giver. He gave of himself to the NYPD and to his friends, family and community. He was a giver to a rare degree.”

With Rachel Uda, Anthony M. DeStefano, Alison Fox and Deon J. Hampton.


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