A 41-year-old Mount Maunganui man was critically injured when his car hit the back of a stationary truck near the intersection with Hinau St late on Thursday.
A Bay of Plenty District Health Board spokesman said the man was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit at Tauranga Hospital.
Police said they were called to the crash shortly before 11pm. It appeared the driver of the car had been thrown from the vehicle by the force of the impact.
Regan Boocock said he was at home when he heard the crash and went outside.
He said he saw the white car had come to a stop in the middle of the road close to the intersection. It was smoking and the passenger side and front were extensively damaged.
A little way back, the "dump truck" was parked on the Blake Park side of the road opposite the Aquarius Motor Inn, its two back wheels and back axle pushed under the unit.
People looked into the car to find the driver. The passenger side was open but the front window was intact.
They found the driver lying partly under the back of a parked car on the opposite side of the road to the truck, several metres away.
"He had massive lacerations. There wasn't much we could do for him."
Another Maunganui Rd resident, alerted to the crash by the "massive bang" of the car hitting the truck, said the man was lying on his front.
The man was unconscious, his breathing laboured. People did not want to risk moving him in case they aggravated his already-serious injuries.
"People were standing next to him going 'it's all right, an ambulance is on its way'."
"There wasn't much you could do," he said.
Both men said it was hard to determine exactly what happened. There were metres between the truck, and the locations the man and the car ended up.
It appeared the car had been travelling towards central Mount Maunganui at speed when it lost control.
Police arrived on the scene first, followed by firefighters and a St John ambulance.
A police spokeswoman said the road was blocked for a couple of hours while police serious crash unit investigators reviewed the scene.
Firefighters from Mount Maunganui were called to the scene.