NASSAU, N.Y. (AP) _ A tractor-trailer loaded with used tires rammed into a car Friday, killing all five people in the car and injuring three others.

The truck was heading down a hill on a rural, two-lane highway when it hit the sport utility vehicle that had just pulled onto the road in the same direction, state police said.

The smaller vehicle was mangled and a fire broke out.

``It was a terrible impact,'' State Police Capt. John Byrne said of the accident about 15 miles east of Albany.

Emergency workers spent hours trying to recover the mangled bodies. The truck left a skid mark longer than 40 feet on the road after apparently braking before the crash, investigators said.

The dead were identified as three women and two men.

The truck's driver, Byron Chacon, 30, and a passenger, Jose Ardon, 34, both from West Haven, Conn., were in serious condition at Albany Medical Center Hospital.

The driver of a third vehicle going up the hill was treated for head and knee injuries. Her car skidded off the road into trees.

The 48-foot trailer owned by Inter-East Tire Inc. of West Haven, Conn., was carrying about 1,300 used tires, said Steve Briley, a company vice president. The tires headed for recycling or disposal in Connecticut.

Briley said he was told by police that Chacon was trying to avoid hitting another car when he slammed into the sport utility vehicle. Police said they were interviewing survivors and still investigating.