Union City PD sergeant, a Lyndhurst resident, dies in Rt. 3 crash

A Union City police sergeant who lived in Lyndhurst died in a car crash on Rt. 3 east Saturday, May 13, in East Rutherford, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced over the weekend.

Officer Mark Zeitounian, 44, was killed in the four-vehicle collision that took place shortly after 11 p.m.

Five others were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Grewal said.

Reports said Zeitounian was on his way to work at the time of the crash.

Zeitounian was hired by the Union City Police Department in 1999, the department’s Facebook page said. He was a 1991 graduate of Union Hill High School, where he was a standout varsity football player.

At the Union City Police Department, Mark served his whole career in the Patrol Division,” a UCPD Facebook post noted. “Mark was a knowledgeable police officer and supervisor who you could always count on to get the job done. He passed on his knowledge by serving as a training officer for newly hired officers.

Around the police station, you could catch Mark talking about his wife, Debbie, his son, Jason, his dog, Bosco, or his beloved Washington Redskins. Mark’s passing extends a pain in our hearts still there from the passing of P.O. Ricky Fernandez. We hope that you both meet up and reminisce about your stories from the 4 to 12 shift.

Nearly 100 people posted replies in tribute to Zeitounian, including Rosanna Castillo, a former UCPD dispatcher.

While I haven’t worked with you guys in a short while, the UCPD will always be my home. I learned so much from you all, especially you Mark,” Castillo wrote. You weren’t afraid to bust my chops (or) to make sure that I was constantly on my toes being the best dispatcher I could be. I am saddened by your early departure of this earth, but I’m happy that you can keep Ricky company.

To my family at UCPD, I am sorry for your loss and know that I’m going through it with you. For Mark’s family, you have my deepest condolences and I hope that you can take comfort in the amazing legacy that he has left behind.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Fatal Accident Investigation Unit and the East Rutherford Police Department. Charges have not yet been filed, Grewal said.

Kevin Canessa | Journalist & Webmaster

Kevin Canessa Jr. is a journalist and webmaster at The Observer. He is responsible for the editorial content on the newspaper's website, the production of the e-Edition, covering the Nutley Police Department and more behind the scenes. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the editor of The Observer, where he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video for the very first time. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Fla., for four years until February 2016 and in 2016, moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.