Two tourists are critically injured after their vehicle and a logging truck collided on a busy rural Waikato highway today.

The crash is the latest in a spate of incidents involving foreign drivers and comes as an American man pleaded guilty to careless driving that caused the death of his wife and two friends.

Today's incident happened on State Highway 27 at Kaihere shortly before 1pm, district road policing manager Inspector Jeff Penno said.

"Initial indications are the incident involved a northbound car losing control on a down hill bend that has collided with a southbound logging truck."


The male driver and female passenger in the car suffered critical injuries, he said.
The pair were flown to Waikato Hospital.

"At this stage it appears that while the occupants of the car are very seriously injured their situation could have been worse had the logging truck not been going slow up the hill and the driver not quickly reacted to what he saw unfolding.

"The investigation is in its early stages at this point but we can confirm it appears the occupants of the car were visitors from overseas but we need to confirm this with consular officials before we can comment on nationalities."

Earlier this week American man Richard Barnett drove into the path of a truck, killing his wife Tamara and friends Ruth and Mitchell Peterson.

Barnett, 56, was today fined $3000 and ordered to pay $1500 in reparation in the Hamilton District Court after pleading guilty to three counts of careless driving causing death.

The trio were killed on the outskirts of Hamilton on Wednesday night when Barnett turned right at the intersection of State Highway 39 and Tuhikaramea Rd, into the path of a southbound truck.

They were planning to visit the nearby Mormon temple.

In a statement released by his lawyer Thomas Sutcliffe, Barnett wanted to thank the local community for their kindness and support.


"He is grateful for the emergency services who attended the scene and in particular the police who have been compassionate and professional in all of their dealings with him.
"He expresses his thanks for the first class medical treatment he has received during his stay in hospital and the overwhelming support from local church members."

Barnett's son and brother-in-law would be arriving in the country to help with the return of the bodies, Mr Sutcliffe said.

Recent crashes involving overseas tourists include:

• Two tourists suffer life threatening injuries after their vehicle and a logging truck collided at Kaihere today.

• Three American were killed when their US driver drove into the path of a truck near Hamilton on March 11.

• A Japanese tourist was critically injured when his rented Suzuki Swift and a truck-and-trailer unit collided near Christchurch on February 27.

• Four Chinese people escaped serious injury when their rental car plunged down a bank and ended up submerged in the Whataroa River on February 27.

• Leeston resident Stephanie Ellis died after a German man Daniel Muller drove through a stop sign and collided with her vehicle near Springston on February 23.

• 5-year-old Ruby Jay Marris was killed on February 21 near Moeraki, Otago, after Jing Cao, 32, from China, allegedly crossed a centre line and crashed into the car carrying Ruby's family.

• A Chinese tourist admitted careless driving causing injury to three other tourists after a crash near Arrowtown on February 21.

• Taiwanese driver, Chia-Fang Chu, killed her father and seriously injured her mother after running a stop sign and crashing into a 4WD south of Christchurch on February 18.

• Frenchman Stephane Yoan Mazerat almost killed his wife and seriously injured himself and two others when he drove on the wrong side of the road at Awakino on January 5.