A 49-year-old St. James man was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with chest pains after police said his car was rear-ended and crashed into a wooded area off the eastbound Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills early Monday.

The accident briefly closed the expressway between Exit 51, Deer Park Avenue, and Exit 53, the Sagtikos Parkway.

Suffolk County police first described the crash as a single-vehicle accident, but later said an investigation determined the vehicle that crashed had been rear-ended by another car.

The crash occurred at 2:31 a.m., police said, when a 2012 Ford Mustang driven by a 20-year-old Massapequa man rear-ended a 1997 Saturn.

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The force of the collision sent the Saturn careening off into the woods, police said.

Police said the Saturn driver suffered an ear laceration and complained of chest pains at the scene and was airlifted to Stony Brook. He suffered what police later described as nonserious injuries in the crash.

The Mustang driver was neither injured nor charged in the crash, police said.

The road was reopened shortly before 5:30 a.m., according to informny.com, the state Department of Transportation website.