A man is in a critical condition after a two car crash on the Hawke's Bay Expressway this evening.

Police were called to the scene, a couple of hundred metres after the Taradale Road roundabout, just before 6pm.

Acting Sergeant Grant Marshall said based on preliminary witness statements it appeared a car being driven southbound on the expressway just after taradale road had veered left, before driving into oncoming traffic.

He had driven into the northbound lane and "done a 360", Mr Marshall said, and oncoming cars had not had time to stop.


Emergency services were working to stabilise the man before transporting him to hospital.

An occupant of the other car appeared to be uninjured but was taken to Hawke's bay hospital.

The serious crash unit was investigating.

Mr Marshall said police were trying to establish the identity of the male driver, as the vehicle was registered to a woman.

A detour is in place as a section of the expressway from Taradale to Kennedy roads remain closed.