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Driver critical after one-car parkway crash

A 20-year-old driver was critically injured Wednesday in an early-morning crash on the Southern State Parkway in West Babylon that left a huge tree -- and the car's engine -- embedded in the front seat.

The driver, Timothy P. O'Hare II of Islip Terrace was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with "serious personal injuries," New York State Police said. The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.

-Photos of the accident scene

State troopers said O'Hare was driving his 2008 Honda Civic eastbound on the parkway when the car veered across the roadway, skidded on the snow-covered median and hit the tree head-on just east of Exit 36 in West Babylon.

The crash occurred at 1:01 a.m. State police said speed appeared to be "the primary cause of the accident," though the investigation is ongoing.

The impact was so fierce that the front of the car was split in half as the tree, which appeared to be about four to five feet around, was embedded several feet into the passenger compartment. The engine was pushed into the passenger area, as was the dashboard.

The entire front section of the car forward of the front doors was obliterated.

The force of the impact "heavily" trapped the driver in the vehicle, a witness said.

It took firefighters from the North Babylon Fire Department and Suffolk County Police Emergency Services Unit officers about 20 minutes to free the driver. Emergency workers needed five extrication tools to free the man.

-Photos of the accident scene

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