Suffolk police were still searching for a hit-and-run driver whose tractor trailer might have run a red light before crashing into a car in Melville early Friday, seriously injuring three people, officials said.

The trio in the black 2002 Saturn -- driver Andrew Shikora, 24, of East Meadow; Julie Moore, 21, and Mallory Sparks, 20, both of Jacksonville, Florida -- were taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow and placed in intensive care.

The crash happened at the North Service Road and Walt Whitman Road about 2:25 a.m. Friday.

Jeraldo Ferraro, 39, of Farmingdale, who was waiting at the westbound red light on the service road when the accident happened, said in an interview yesterday that the driver of the truck ran a red light and after the accident fled the scene. Det. Sgt. Jeff Walker of the Second Squad detectives said investigators have also been told by an eyewitness that the truck driver ran a red light.

Ferraro described the truck as dark-colored. He said it was pulling a light-colored trailer used to haul dirt, sand and other construction materials and had an orange construction-vehicle sign on the back.

The truck was moving quickly and when it got to the intersection, the car Shikora was driving struck the rear wheels of the truck, tipped forward toward its nose and then was run over the hood by the trailer's back wheels, Ferraro said.

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"He didn't even hesitate," Ferraro said of the truck driver. "He just kept going."

After the truck left the scene, Ferraro said he and another driver at the light went to help Shikora and his passengers.

Police said responders from the Melville Fire Department cut open the car's roof to rescue Shikora, who was pinned between his seat and the steering wheel.

Sparks, who suffered fractures in both legs, among other injuries, said in an interview at the hospital that the trio was returning to the nearby Marriott hotel on Walt Whitman Road from a Farmingdale restaurant.

"Evil," Moore's mother, Jane Moore, 49, of Jacksonville, said of the truck driver. Jane Moore, whose husband is a truck driver, flew to New York Friday night after she learned of the accident.

Police are searching for the tractor trailer, which investigators Saturday said likely has damage to its driver's side or middle section.

Authorities ask anyone with information to call Second Squad detectives at 631-854-8252 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.

With Kevin Deutsch