FLORENCE – An off-duty Florence police officer died in a wreck overnight, officials said.
Officer Jason K. Novak, 51, died in the hospital almost two hours after the wreck on Pine Street at approximately 12:30 a.m. today, Police Chief Ron Tyler said.

The crash occurred at 10:53 pm Saturday. Novak was critically injured when the car he was driving, a 1986 BMW 528, collided with a 2014 Nissan Altima, being driven by 26-year-old Laiken Paige Owen, of Florence, Alabama. Owen was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

“It’s certainly terrible news,” Tyler said. “Everybody lost a good friend, a great police officer and colleague and a true professional.”
He said Novak was the only one in his vehicle and nobody else was seriously injured.
“Our guys responded to the wreck call and when you realize who it is it shakes you up,” Tyler said.
He said police contacted the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency(State Troopers) to assist in the matter since it involves a Florence officer, Tyler said.
“This is a great loss for us and the department and community,” he said. “It’s just horrible news to receive. We’ll lean on one another and do what we can to help. He was a great guy and true professional police officer.”

****Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason’s Family and friends at this time. He was a great guy and will be sorely missed by all.****

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