The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. in the westbound lanes of Sunrise Highway in North Babylon.
WATCH video from Newscopter 7 over the scene
The Department of Transportation says a tractor trailer was traveling on NY 231, which crosses over Sunrise Highway, when it lost a tire or possibly two tires.
One tire then dropped onto the highway and struck a 1998 Saturn, killing the driver and leaving the vehicle's roof and hood crushed.
Another vehicle, a Chevy SUV with two women inside, was also hit by a tire. The SUV was driven by 61-year-old Mary DiFranco of Lindenhurst.
"I thought we were going to die, we were really scared. Very scary," said the passenger in the SUV.
The women in the SUV were not hurt. But it was a close call.
"We must have hit debris and the tire all of the sudden our car boom, I saw debris flying and I saw the tire fly over on the car and it was like, I thought the tire was going to hit us," the SUV passenger said. "I said Mary pull over and then our car started smoking and I was scared it was going to blow up."
Authorities are now looking for help from the public in finding the truck that lost the tire or tires. It is unclear whether the driver knew what had happened.
"The First Squad is looking for help from the public on the origin of these tires," said Detective Sergeant James Cullen. "If anyone can help us, what vehicle they came off, or where they came from."
All lanes of westbound Sunrise Highway and the service road were closed at Robert Moses Causeway.
The vehicles were impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the First Squad at 631-854-8152.