Suspect in death of Salem police officer Dana Mazola passes guilty plea

A Salem man pleaded guilty in Newburyport District Court on Tuesday to charges related to a fatal car crash that claimed the life of Salem Police Constable Dana Mazola.

Juan Marinez, 27, of Salem pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation and was found responsible for speeding and a violation of marked lanes, the district attorney’s office said. Essex.

Marinez initially pleaded not guilty.

Judge Alan Swan sentenced Marinez to two and a half years in the reformatory with one year to serve followed by six months of house arrest with a GPS and 5 years of probation. He was ordered not to drive and his guilty plea resulted in a 15-year loss of license by law.

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The crash on Jefferson Avenue was reported around 11:07 p.m. on June 25, 2020.

According to the prosecutor’s office, if the case had gone to trial, Essex Assistant District Attorney Haleigh Reisman would have presented evidence that would prove Marinez, who was driving a 2015 Ford Fusion southbound, crossed the line. double yellow line and hit Mazola during his 2011. Toyota Corolla traveling in the north lane, head-on.

Both men were taken to North Shore Medical Center in Salem. Shortly after arriving, Mazola, 56, was pronounced dead. Marinez suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

An investigation by detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section found the Marinez was traveling between 47 and 55 miles per hour in the moments preceding the accident. The speed limit on Jefferson Avenue is 25 miles per hour.

“The defendant failed to maintain control of his vehicle due to the high speed and his recklessness ultimately resulted in the death of Dana Mazola,” Reisman said in his plea. “The loss of his life – a 31-year Salem Police Department veteran, beloved husband, father, uncle, brother-in-law – was preventable.”