Earlier this morning, a wrong-way driver struck a vehicle on the NY State Thruway, killing himself and the other driver. Now it turns out the driver going southbound in the northbound lane was an off-duty NYPD police officer.

Richard Christopher, 32, an officer at the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx, was driving his pickup the wrong way around 7 a.m. He struck the SUV of James DeVito, 59, near exit 15. The men were pronounced dead at the scene. Ray Florida, head of Rockland Paramedic Services, told the Journal News, "Both of them had airbags and seatbelts, but the impact was so great that none of that helped. You can't survive that kind of damage."

NBC New York reports, "Chopper 4 captured an extensive emergency presence at the scene as authorities worked to piece together the circumstances of the crash. Tires and shattered pieces of metal were strewn on the pavement, and the fronts of both vehicles involved in the crash were demolished." Neither driver had any passengers.

A Thruway Authority official said, "We believe that area of the Thruway is clearly marked." However, there have been two wrong-way driving incidents in the past few weeks (both drivers were allegedly drunk).

Police are investigating the crash.