Sam Gebbia, a former New Orleans police officer and later a division director and investigator for former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed’s office, was killed Saturday night in a two-car crash on Interstate 12 east of La. 1088, State Police said.
Gebbia, 69, who lived in Covington, was involved in highly controversial cases while with both the New Orleans police and the St. Tammany and Washington parishes DA’s Office.
Gebbia was traveling westbound about 11 p.m. Saturday when a Toyota Corolla driven by John Joseph Gold, of Sloan, New York, hit him from behind, according to crash investigators. Gebbia’s pickup ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned, striking several trees. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the truck. He died at the scene.
Gold’s vehicle ran off the left side of the highway, striking a cable barrier. He was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
Gold provided a breath sample that showed no evidence of alcohol, and impairment is not believed to have been a factor in the accident. Gold was issued a summons for careless operation, but the crash remains under investigation and additional charges could be filed, State Police said.
Before Reed became DA, Gebbia served in the New Orleans Police Department with him. As an officer, Gebbia had a key role in the controversial case against Reginald Adams, who was released from prison last year after serving 34 years for his purported role in the murder of an officer’s wife.
Gebbia was fired from the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office shortly after Warren Montgomery succeeded Reed in January.
Although Montgomery didn’t cite Gebbia’s role in the Adams case as the reason for his termination, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said at the time of Adams’ release from prison that Gebbia had lied under oath in the first of Adams’ two murder trials.
More recently, Gebbia was involved in a case that last month resulted in the indictment of Louis S. Dabdoub Jr., Reed’s former chief investigator. The indictment, secured by the state Attorney General’s Office, accuses Dabdoub of making a false statement to get a man arrested, apparently as a favor to a close friend and supporter of Reed’s.
Dabdoub, Gebbia and Reed all served with the NOPD at the same time as Anthony Marullo, whose wife, Barbara, was suing a tenant for theft and damage to property.
Dabdoub and Gebbia took a statement from Barbara Marullo, and Dabdoub then swore out an arrest warrant against restaurateur Ricky Cambre claiming that Cambre had confessed the crimes to her.
But Marullo, in a sworn deposition in her civil suit against her former tenant, denied telling anyone that Cambre had admitted to anything.
In the taped interview with Dabdoub and Gebbia, which was reviewed by The New Orleans Advocate, she said she had never even spoken to Cambre.
The DA’s Office paid a $40,000 settlement to the wrongly accused man. Gebbia was not charged with a crime in connection with Cambre’s arrest.
This story was altered Dec. 9, 2015 to reflect that Louis Dabdoub is Louis S. Dabdoub Jr.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.