Fatal Staten Island Crash - 3 off-Duty Linden Police Officers Involved 2New Jersey – A car which was carrying three New Jersey police officers who were off-duty crashed into a truck while driving in the wrong side on a NYC highway early Friday.

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

The three officers worked in the Linden Police Department, officials said. 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 collided 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.

Images showed the truck and car smashed against the center guardrail and the car ravaged.

“Linden is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody,” Linden Mayor Derek Armstead told 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 could be notified.

He said that Armstead and police Chief James Schulhafer were heading to the two Staten Island hospitals where the surviving officers were taken and that a chaplain and grief counselors are at police headquarters.

In his 37 years working for the department, Sarnicki said, he couldn’t remember any officers being killed in the blue-collar refinery town just across the water from Staten Island.

“Nothing as tragic as this that I can recall,” he said.

Flags in front of Linden City Hall, which are part of a war memorial surrounded by smaller American flags, were lowered to half-staff Friday morning.

“This is devastating, devastating,” said Reese Lospinoso, 57, a bartender who grew up in Linden and has lived here most of his life. “The police in Linden are looked at very, very highly. They’re very well-respected in our town.”

Armstead said more information would be released later Friday