A Gloucester County police officer, who was involved in a head-on collision last night while driving his police cruiser, is recovering after emergency surgery, police said.

Gary Wurst, a four-year veteran of the Deptford Township Police Department in Gloucester County, underwent surgery overnight at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. The officer's condition has not been released, but he was listed in critical condition when admitted to the hospital last night, said Bernie Weisenfeld, spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

Wurst's patrol car and a 1996 Ford Explorer collided head-on at about 11:40 p.m. on Route 47 (Delsea Drive) near Lexington Avenue. Wurst was returning to Deptford police headquarters, traveling southbound on Delsea Drive near the Brunswick Deptford bowling lanes.

Wurst had to be cut out of his vehicle in order to be taken to the hospital.

The driver of the Explorer, Andrea M. Paton, 19, from Sewell, made a left turn at the bowling lanes. The Explorer struck Wurst's patrol car on the driver's side front end, and the impact drove the cruiser into a tree on the south side of Route 47, Weisenfeld said.

Wurst sustained multiple injuries, authorities said. Paton was taken to Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township for treatment of a leg injury. Her injuries are not considered serious.

There is no indication that alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision, and both drivers were wearing seat belts, Weisenfeld said.

Delsea Drive, a main road through Gloucester County, was closed for more than three hours after the crash.

New Jersey state police and the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office are assisting the investigation.

Contact the Inquirer Online Desk at 215-854-2443 or inqonline.com.