Three horses are dead and a driver is seriously injured after a car hit four horses wandering on a rural Hawke's Bay road early this morning.

Police central shift manager Chris Turner said two roaming horses were killed instantly when a vehicle hit them on Taihape Rd at Omahu, near Hastings about 4am. Another was euthanised because of its injuries.

The driver of the vehicle has been taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital suffering serious injuries.

Turner said a vet and council animal control attended to the dead and injured beasts.

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It was unknown why the horses were on road or where they had escaped from.

A few hours earlier the driver of a ute was flown to Gisborne Hospital in a serious condition after hitting a bridge in Ruatoria.

Turner said the crash happened on Te Araroa Rd at 1.30am.

A rescue helicopter was called to take the badly injured motorist to hospital.

Police said no other vehicles were involved in the crash.