A Northland has man has died after a crash between a truck and trailer and 4WD on State Highway 1 south of Whangarei.
Emergency services were called to the crash near the intersection of SH1 and Maungakaramea Rd about 3.30am yesterday. Whangarei firefighters used rescue equipment to cut the man free from the 4WD.
However, police confirmed a 68-year-old man from Poroti died later in the morning at Whangarei Hospital.
Whangarei police Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said initial investigations showed the 4WD may have been doing a U-turn when it collided with the truck. The truck driver was uninjured.
The crash closed the road until about 8am. Traffic was diverted through rural roads via Mangapai and Maungakaramea.
The death brings Northland's road toll for the year to 21 - nearly equal to last year's total of 22 fatalities.
Following the previous fatal crash in Rawene on August 1, Northland chief traffic officer Inspector Wayne Ewers said it was extremely disappointing, to see the road toll rising given the amount of work that was going on to make Northland roads safe by a large number of agencies.
"Police are more visible and have spoken to more motorists this year than in the past and yet we continue to see and receive reports of really bad driving behaviours," Mr Ewers said.
While there was no common thread between the fatal crashes this year, the safety messages to reduce the trauma and damage remained the same - don't drink and drive, ensure you are well rested before driving long distances, wear a seatbelt and drive to the conditions.
Meanwhile, peak evening commuter traffic in Whangarei was brought to a standstill yesterday evening when two vehicles collided at the intersection of SH1 and Maunu Rd about 4.30pm - 8km north of the fatal crash earlier in the day.
Helen Taylor was heading east down Maunu Rd and was approaching the intersection, when the crash happened just metres in front of her car.
A 4WD towing a boat and heading north along SH1 and a car coming from the opposite direction and turning right into Maunu Rd collided.
One elderly woman - a passenger in the turning car - had to be cut from the vehicle and was taken to Whangarei Hospital with minor injuries.
Ms Taylor said she was shocked to see some people simply drive around the dramatic crash scene and continue on their way.
"I freaked and made sure the lady was OK. It was a daughter driving and her mother was trapped.
"I was directing traffic because the ambulance guy asked me to ... But that might have been me," Ms Taylor said.
Emergency services were still working to clear the scene at 6pm last night.