MERRIMAC — A 44-year-old Amesbury man was killed Wednesday night when his sport utility vehicle slammed into a tree off Interstate 495 north.

The crash occurred shortly before 6:30 p.m. when the northbound 2013 Nissan Rogue suddenly left the highway south of Exit 53 and hit a tree in the median, according to state police.

The unidentified driver, the SUV's only occupant, was transported to Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport, where he was pronounced dead, state police said.

The man's name is not being released as investigators determine why the crash occurred. 

The left lane near the accident was closed for two hours following the crash. Troop A investigated the accident with help from the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the Crime Scene Services Section.

State troopers received assistance from the Amesbury Fire Department and the Merrimac Fire and Police departments.

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