An off-duty New York police officer was killed on his wedding day when the high-end sports car he was in crashed into a tree, authorities confirmed.
Newlywed Michael Colangelo, 31, was driving a rented 2018 Maserati with his friend, Detective John M. Martinez, when it veered off a roadway and struck a large tree around 11:30 on Sunday night, Police Maj. Pierce Gallagher said during a press conference Monday.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene, while a third male passenger was taken to a nearby hospital.
The accident occurred just a matter of hours after Colangelo said ‘I do’ in his wedding to his wife Katherine Berger.
The three men crashed after heading out for a drive from Colangelo’s wedding reception at Full Moon Resort in upstate New York and only made it less than a mile before when the crash occurred.
Gallagher said the two officers were likely not wearing seatbelts, which lead to their partial ejection, according to WLNS.
“As far as we can tell they were taking this car out for a ride,” Gallagher said. “I feel comfortable saying that the speed was excessive.”
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Police are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results, he added.
According to the New York Daily News, Colangelo, a 10-year veteran of the NYPD, met Martinez while working in the emergency services unit of the department. Martinez, 39, was a father to a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, the New York Post reports.
Colangelo and his wife were planning a trip to Costa Rica after the ceremony, they wrote on their Honeyfund page.
Neighbors say Colangelo, who lived on Long Island, didn’t hide his excitement when it came to marrying his sweetheart in the days leading up to the ceremony.
“I got to chat with him about how happy he was and that everything was going right, because he was going to get married this past weekend,” Chuck Weindorf, 85, told the New York Daily News. “He was having a barn type wedding. I saw him in the garage preparing for some of the props that will be used in the wedding. They were planning this for a while now. This was a big occasion. It’s just a tragic deal.”
Other neighbors recounted Colangelo’s positive and friendly attitude.
“I’m shocked, he’s a K-9 cop so, you know, he walks his dog around every day, always saying hello to people, ‘Hey, how are you? Hey, How are you doing?’ ” Ray Spatafora told ABC 6 of Colangelo. “If it would snow, I’d do his driveway real quick because he worked 12-hour days, a real good guy, a real shame.”
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his condolences over Twitter on Monday.
“Our entire city is keeping the families and loved ones of Officer John Martinez and Officer Michael Colangelo in our prayers,” de Blasio wrote.
The third passenger, a 28-year-old man who was taken to Albany Medical Center, is expected to survive.