SALEM, Mass. — An off-duty Salem police officer was killed in a head-on crash on Jefferson Avenue Thursday night, Salem police confirmed.
The Essex County District Attorney’s office said in a statement that 56-year-old patrolman Dana Mazola was off-duty and was driving a Toyota that collided with a Ford Fusion around 11:20 p.m on Jefferson Avenue in Salem, near Dube’s Restaurant. Mazola was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver of the Ford Fusion was also injured and transported to a local hospital but the district attorney’s office said it did not know his current condition. His name has not been released.
Nearly three decades ago, when Mazola applied to be a police officer, he wrote “My main reason for wanting to be a police officer is that I have an ability to deal well with all types of people. I enjoy helping people solve their problems and helping them through stressful or traumatic situations.”
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll issued a statement Friday morning saying she was devastated to learn about the crash and Mazola’s death. “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,” the statement said. “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 Florene 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.”
Mazola was supposed to retire in July.
“He just signed his papers yesterday. Last night, he just came back...yes. so he was set to retire,” said Lt. Harry Rocheville, with the Salem Police Dept.
“Dana was an incredible human being. Everyone loved him,” said Sgt. Michael Dunn, with the Salem Police Dept.
Mazola leaves behind his wife, and twin daughters.
The circumstances surrounding the crash are not clear. The DA’s office said Massachusetts State Police are investigating and so far, no charges have been filed.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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