New Orleans police officer found unconscious after SUV overturns in Metairie crash _lowres

Sgt. Michael Marziale

Sgt. Michael Marziale, the fifth-longest-serving officer in the New Orleans Police Department, died at an area hospital Friday, several days after he was involved in an off-duty rollover crash in Metairie.

Marziale, 62, was known among colleagues as an old-school policeman, having served the department for 43 years. He most recently was assigned to the department’s Administrative Duties Division in a limited-duty capacity.

The single-vehicle crash happened shortly after noon Nov. 25 in the 2800 block of Richland Avenue as Marziale was heading to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with relatives. He veered off the road and struck a utility pole with his SUV, causing the vehicle to flip over, authorities said.

Joseph Greco, the director of the Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Fire Department, said officials believed a medical problem caused Marziale to lose control of his vehicle.

First responders managed to breathe life back into the officer — he was unconscious and had to be extricated from the SUV — and he received intensive treatment at University Medical Center in the days that followed.

“It’s a terrible loss,” Donovan Livaccari, an attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police, said of Marziale’s passing.

The death delivered another blow to a Police Department still recovering from the losses of Officer Daryle Holloway, who was fatally shot in June while transporting an inmate, and Officer Vernell Brown, who was struck by a car while investigating a vehicle fire on the Pontchartrain Expressway. At least two members of the department also have had immediate family members murdered this year.

Friends and colleagues of Marziale had rallied in his support in recent days, organizing an online fundraiser to help pay for his medical costs.

Marziale loved police work, and he continued to serve even after a stroke limited the motion in his left arm, friends said.

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said in a statement, “We are grateful for the decades of service that Michael Marziale gave to the New Orleans Police Department and the people of New Orleans. Being a police officer is not just a career, it’s a calling. I am proud to say that Sgt. Marziale answered that call and served his city with honor. The thoughts and prayers of our department and the law enforcement community are with his family today. As one of the longest-serving members of the NOPD, his presence will be missed.”

Restaurateur Anthony Marullo, a friend of the family, said recently, “This is a cop’s cop. They don’t make these old-school type of policemen anymore.”

Survivors include his wife, two sons and two daughters.

Follow Jim Mustian on Twitter, @JimMustian.