The victim, David Dorazio, was driving on Sunrise Highway in West Babylon on Long Island Thursday afternoon when the tire struck his car, Suffolk County Police said.
The tire then hit a second car, a 2000 Chevrolet SUV, driven by 61-year-old Mary DiFranco, police said.
Dorazio, of Lindenhurst, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
DiFranco and her passenger, 61-year-old Irene Sciane, were not injured, police said.
"I thought we were going to die. We were really scared," the terrified SUV passenger later told ABC station WABC-TV in New York. "I saw debris flying and I saw the tire fly over on the car ... I thought the tire was going to hit us."
Police don't know where the tire came from and ask anyone with information to call the department at 631-854-8152.