Police have confirmed that a car involved in a crash which killed a man near Havelock North was seen "travelling at speed" moments beforehand.
The vehicle that the police had seen had collided with another vehicle, driven by a man aged in his 40s, who died at the scene.
A police spokesperson said a police unit "spotted" the car on St Georges Rd at about 4.30pm yesterday .
The officer U-turned but had lost sight of the vehicle.
The officer continued driving down St Georges Road and came across the crash, which happened in fine pre-dusk conditions on a bend between Havelock Rd and Te Aute Rd.
No pursuit had taken place, the spokesperson said.
Three people from a vehicle police had spotted were taken by a St John ambulance crew to Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Hastings.
One had been reported to be in a serious condition at the scene.
The trio were transferred to Hawke's Bay Hospital, and one man in his 30s has been discharged.
Two men in their 40s are in a stable condition.
Police were today calling for witnesses to the crash or events which might be linked to come forward.
Anyone with information can call 105 and quote file number 220704/8176.
The section of road was closed for about seven hours during the rescue, salvage and police Serious Crash Unit investigation.
Police said the Independent Police Conduct Authority would also be informed.
Because of the ongoing investigation, the spokesperson said police would not be releasing details of any recorded speeds of the vehicle police had 'spotted'.
The investigation includes establishing the position and travelling direction of both vehicles, before the accident.
It was the first fatality reported on wider Hawke's Bay roads in just over five weeks since May 26, that of a woman hit by a vehicle, the last of four deaths in May.
While eight people have now been reported to have died in incidents on roads in Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay and Tararua this year, two are not currently recorded in statistics, pending confirmation of the accident causes.
The national road toll for 2022 is provisionally 189. In recent years to July 4 it was:
2018, 200; 2019, 195; 2020, 151 and 176 last year.