RUTHERFORD — A tow truck driver responding to a crash on Route 3 Saturday night was seriously injured when he was struck by a vehicle from another crash that happened behind him.

Rutherford police Chief John Russo said Robert Thornton, 31, who works for Nick's Towing Service, was loading the second of two cars onto a flatbed on Route 3 westbound just past Route 17 around 10:30 p.m.

A car then careened through the emergency vehicles at the scene of the first crash and struck Thornton.

Thornton was seriously injured and was hospitalized in critical condition on Monday morning.

Russo said that two people in the first crash were hospitalized, including a pregnant woman.

The chief said that the initial investigation does not point to anything criminal in the crashes.

First responders rally support

Thornton is a member of the Moonachie First Aid & Rescue Squad and a resident of Ridgefield Park.

"Rob is a dedicated member of our squad that has given countless hours of his time to help others. We need prayers and positivity to help our brother Rob come home," the squad wrote on its Facebook page.

The squad also created a GoFundMe page for Thornton to help his family with anticipated expenses.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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