1 off-duty New Jersey cop dead, 2 critical after NYC crash

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Off-Duty Police Officers Involved in Deadly Wrong-Way Crash

LINDEN, N.J. (AP) -- A car carrying three off-duty New Jersey police officers crashed into a truck early Friday while driving the wrong way on a New York City highway, killing one officer and a civilian and leaving two other officers critically injured, officials said.

The three officers worked in the Linden Police Department, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead told local media outlets. The identity of the fourth person in the car wasn't clear.

The truck was driving southbound on the West Shore Expressway on Staten Island when the vehicles crashed head-on just before 5 a.m., the New York Police Department said. The truck driver was treated at a hospital for injuries that weren't considered to be life-threatening.

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Wrong-Way NYC Crash (Linden, Cops)
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1 off-duty New Jersey cop dead, 2 critical after NYC crash
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
Pedro Abad was behind the wheel when he drove the wrong way down the highway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. 
Pedro Abad posted a photo of the drinks on his Instagram page before the crash that included a caption of a toast he said he had given.
In this undated photo provided by the Linden, N.J. Police Department, Police Officer Pedro Abad is shown. Abad, 27, is in critical condition after the car he was driving struck a truck head-on, while travelling in the wrong direction on a Staten Island N.Y., highway, Friday, March 20, 2015. The crash critically injured a fellow officer and killed another. A civilian travelling in the vehicle also died. (AP Photo/Linden N.J. Police Department)
Pedro Abad was behind the wheel when he drove the wrong way down the highway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. 
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
In this undated photo provided by the Linden, N.J. Police Department, Police Officer Frank Viggiano is shown. Viggiano, 28, was killed in a motor vehicle accident while riding as a passenger in a car driven by fellow Linden Police Officer, Pedro Abad, in the early morning hours of Friday, March 20, 2015 on New York’s Staten Island. (AP Photo/Linden N.J. Police Department)
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
STATEN ISLAND, NY - MARCH 20: Aftermath photo of head on collision between a tractor-trailer and an automobile carrying 3 Linden police officers and a civilian employee, killing two and leaving two others in critical condition. The car was traveling in the wrong direction on the southbound West Shore Expressway at about 5 a.m. when the crash occurred in Staten Island, New York City on March 20, 2015. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX
Pedro Abad was behind the wheel when he drove the wrong way down the highway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. 
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Images showed both the truck and car smashed against the center guardrail and the car ravaged.

"Linden is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody," Armstead told WCBS radio. "The officers involved are very proactive in our community, and it is just a sad day in Linden, it really is."

Linden police Capt. James Sarnicki said all three officers were men in their 20s and relatively new to the force, he said. The officers' names weren't being released until their families were notified.

Linden is a blue-color refinery town just across the water from Staten Island.

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