Hundreds of mourners gathered in Smithtown May 25 to say goodbye to one of New York’s bravest who was taken too soon.
A funeral was held Friday for New York City Police officer John Martinez, of Hauppauge, who was killed in an upstate car crash earlier this week. One lane of East Main Street was closed as a full police motorcade escorted Martinez’s body from Saint James Funeral Home to the funeral Mass celebrated at St. Patrick R.C. Church.
Martinez was killed in a single-car crash with fellow NYPD officer and Huntington Station resident Michael Colangelo, 31, a single-car crash May 20 in Shandaken. New York State police said Martinez was driving a 2018 Maserati southbound on Oliveria Road at approximately 11:23 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle, striking a large tree and flipping the car. The vehicle came to a stop on its roof.
Colangelo and Martinez were pronounced dead at the scene. A third passenger was transported to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, according to state police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel.
Colangelo was a member of the NYPD’s canine unit who had married his sweetheart, Katherine Berger, earlier that day at the Full Moon Resort in the Hudson Valley. Martinez worked for the NYPD’s 84th Precinct’s detective squad.
The men had departed from Full Moon Resort, but their planned destination was not known, according to Nevel. He said the stretch of Oliveria Road is very rural, curves and has no street lighting. State police said based on skid marks left on the roadway that the vehicle was traveling well in excess of the posted 40 mph speed limit at the time of the accident.
“We don’t know the exact speed they were going at this time,” Nevel said. “We are looking to get that information from the black box of the Maserati.”
State police said they did not know if drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the deadly crash, but an investigation remains ongoing. An autopsy of the driver was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 21, but the
results would not be immediately available.
“We’ve interviewed several people at the wedding reception, and everyone was very distraught,” Nevel said.
Colangelo and his wife had planned to travel to Costa Rica for their honeymoon, according to their www.honeyfund.com site, which read, “We’ve lived together quite a while with all our pots and pans, and as we don’t need very many home goods we’ve got another plan. 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.”
Anyone who may have witnessed the accident or has information on the events of May 20 is encouraged to contact the state police’s Catskill barracks Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 518-622-8600.