LINDEN, N.J. - Two New Jersey police officers injured in a wrong-way crash in New York City that killed another officer and an acquaintance remained in critical condition Saturday, officials said.
Investigators applied for a warrant to test the driver's blood-alcohol level after the crash early Friday on the West Shore Expressway in Staten Island. But a New York Police Department spokesman said Saturday he did not know whether the warrant had been approved or served.
Authorities said the four men were headed home from a strip club when they drove the wrong way on the highway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. The officers were off duty at the time.
Pedro Abad, 27, who was driving the car, and Patrik Kudlac, 23, were in critical condition at hospitals on Staten Island. Both are officers with the Linden Police Department.
Another Linden officer, Frank Viggiano, 28, and the officers' friend Joe Rodriguez, 28, were killed in the crash. The truck driver suffered injuries that weren't believed to be life-threatening.
Hours before the crash, Abad had posted a photo on his Instagram page of three shot glasses filled with what he identified as "Jack Daniels Fire on the house."
"We were all young once and I'm sure we've all done stupid things in our life," Linden Police Chief James Schulhafer said. "But, that being said, because this is an ongoing investigation, it would be way too premature to speculate on what caused this accident."
Surveillance footage from a gas station shows a car traveling the wrong way on a service road minutes before the crash on the adjacent highway. A southbound exit ramp leads from the highway to the service road. The time stamp on the video reads 4:48 a.m. Police received a 911 call about the crash at 4:51 a.m.
One tractor-trailer swerved out of the way of the car, but the second didn't have enough time to, Royster said.
Sarnicki said all three officers were relatively new to the force and were unmarried without children. Viggiano was a five-year veteran, Abad a six-year veteran, and Kudlac had two years on the job.
"At this point, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Frank Viggiano," he said, describing him as well-liked. "This is an unspeakable tragedy."
Rodriguez's father, Angelo, called his son "my pal" in an interview with the Associated Press at the family's home in Linden. He said they had planned to go trout fishing in two weeks.
Other images on Abad's Instagram page included photos of him serving in the honor guard at the funeral last weekend for Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed in an attempted video game store holdup.