A pedestrian was hit by an SUV, then swept under a van and dragged nearly 17 miles on New York City highways before the driver discovered the body.

Investigators were working to identify the badly damaged body and were retracing the van's route in search of body parts, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The man was first hit around 6:15 a.m. in the Corona section of Queens by the driver of the black SUV, who notified police.

The driver of the maroon cargo van said he noticed cars swerving, but didn't see the initial accident and assumed the drivers were avoiding a pothole. He somehow caught the victim under the van's carriage. It's not clear if the person was alive at that point. An autopsy was planned for Thursday.

The van drove on the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway, winding from Queens to Brooklyn and ending up in the Coney Island neighborhood where the driver worked.

He stopped once along the way to check the vehicle, but looked in the front of the van and didn't notice the body toward the back, police said.

A pedestrian in Coney Island alerted the driver, who then saw the body 45 minutes after the initial accident.

Police say no criminality is suspected.