NYPD Upstate Crash

New York State Police

Groom Among 2 NYPD Officers Killed In Crash After Upstate Wedding

May 21, 2018 - 12:42 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Two off-duty NYPD officers were heading back from a wedding in Ulster County when they were killed in a crash overnight. One of the victims was the groom. 

Police said the 2018 Maserati they were riding in suddenly veered off the road and struck a large tree before overturning on Oliveria Road in the town of Shandaken around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

New York State Police said Monday afternoon that they believe the two officers were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, and the officers were speeding.

“I feel comfortable saying that the speed was excessive,” said New York State Police Major Pierce Gallagher.

New York State Police confirm 31-year-old NYPD Officer Michael Colangelo from Huntington Station had just gotten married at the nearby Full Moon Resort.

The other victim has been identified as 39-year-old John Martinez from Hauppauge.

Initially, state police said Martinez was behind the wheel, but they are no longer sure.

“We want to consider that that might not be the case at this point,” he said.

A third person in the car suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital in Albany. That passenger was wearing a seat belt, state police said.

It's not clear if that person was also an officer. Police said that victim was not the bride.

“It’s a 40-mile-an-hour county roadway…. It’s narrow. It’s got some curves to it,” Gallagher said.

State police released photos of the car. It had mud across the front of it, the passenger side door was ripped off, and the roof was caved in when it slammed into the tree.

Martinez worked out of the 84th Precinct in Downtown Brooklyn where black and purple bunting has gone up.

Colangelo was a K-9 officer with the Emergency Services Unit.

He lived on Oak Tree Road in South Huntington with his wife, Katherine Berger who is a nurse.

"When my son told me all I could say is, 'Oh my God, oh my God.' But I didn't know it was his wedding night. So sad. There's no words," their next door neighbor Patti Orsini said.

She said Colangelo recently graduated from the NYPD's ESU K-9 Team and treated his partner, Jimbo, like a son.

"He loved that dog. He worked very hard with that dog. He was very proud to be a part of that department," Orsini said.

An online registry says that he and his wife were headed to Costa Rica for their honeymoon.

The cause of the crash has not been released. Investigators are waiting on both an autopsy and a toxicology report.