Officer Dana Mazola of the Salem Police force was killed in a car crash on Thursday evening, according to the department. Officer Mazola, 56, was off duty at the time of the crash.
Thursday night police responded to a call of a head-on collision on Jefferson Avenue and Salem at around 11:20 pm. Officer Mazola’s car and the other car both took heavy damage on the front-end.
Both victims were transferred to Salem Hospital, where after a few hours Mazola was pronounced dead. The other driver is alive but in critical condition, according to the Essex District Attorney’s Office.
Currently, the cause of the accident is unknown. Massachusetts State Police are helping with the investigation.Also Read– Three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery killing
A resident in the area, John Maslowski, heard the crash from inside his home. When he ran outside, he saw a person “all confused and worried about the guy in the car.”
“Fire department was really upset, I’m sure it’s somebody they knew,” Maslowski said.
Kevin Wilson was also near the crash site when it happened. “The police officer’s car was completely mushed all the way up to the dashboard,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. I knew there was something really personal to that police officer that I saw leaning over the hood of his car.”
A friend of Mazola’s came to the crash site. “I’m just shocked that he’s not here anymore,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified. She said Mazola was “a big teddy bear, always very fair, always very kind. He did the best he could to help people out.”
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said in an announcement:
“I was absolutely devastated to learn very early this morning about the accident that took the life of Salem Police Officer Dana Mazola. Dana was a conscientious and professional officer, a loving husband and father, and a devoted public servant to the people of Salem. He was, as we say, the ‘salt of the earth’ – a conscientious rank and file patrol officer who worked hard every single shift.
Our families often attended the same church services and I fondly recall his two girls helping keep my energetic (at the time) toddler occupied while seated in the pew next to ours. Dana had a big heart and was a warm and caring family man. On behalf of the residents he served with such diligence and dedication for 31 years, I want to express my deepest condolences to his wife Florence and his twin girls, Amanda and Savannah, and all of Dana’s family. This is an unimaginable and heartbreaking loss to them and to our whole community. May he rest in peace.“