A coroner has today visited the Te Kuiti crash scene where three people lost their lives in January 2016.
Coroner Mike Robb is holding an inquest into the deaths of Amy Katu, 26, Timothy Grainger, 26 and Logan Wright, 19, who died after their vehicle and a truck collided on Oparure Rd outside McDonald's Lime Quarry, now called Graymont Quarry.
The truck, driven by John Turner, was turning right, across the lane, into the driveway of the former McDonald's Lime quarry when the crash occurred on January 13, 2016.
Turner, 71, was charged with three counts of careless driving causing death but was found not guilty by Judge Kim Saunders.
It was a decision which has left the families of the victims angry. They say the have never received an apology or noticed any remorse from Turner.
A family representative is present in court for each of the victims - Brett Johnson, grandfather of Logan Wright, Lynette McDonald, Grainger's mother, and Michelle Steele, mother of Amy Katu.
Coroner Robb visited the scene with Sergeant Mark Wickham and Detective Sergeant Dave Grace. Members of Logan Wright's family also went to the site.
It was the first time Wright's mother, Denise Mortensen, had visited the spot where her son died. Choking back tears, Mortensen said Turner had "no idea of the devastation he had caused to our family".
"[Turner] has never said a word. Not even any remorse whatsoever. It's been two years and my family are only just coming right now."
At the inquest, McDonald quizzed Constable Leesa Anderson at length about how her family were treated on the day of the crash, upset at the names of the victims being leaked by an emergency services staff member before quickly being circulated on social media.
The speed at which trucks turned into the quarry was also a point of contention as was the impact a tree would have had on impeding Turner's view of the Mazda as it rounded the bend into his path.
A serious crash unit investigation found Katu was not at fault and travelling between 80km/h and 110km/h as she came around the corner.
After visiting the scene, the coroner told the inquest they were travelling about 65km/h as they went around the corner. Crash investigator Senior Constable David Tidmarsh told the coroner it was unlikely Katu was travelling at 110km/h, more likely around 80km/h to 90km/h given the extent of damage caused to the Mazda.
McDonald asked Anderson why it took police six hours to notify them of her son's death.
Anderson, who said she was only at the scene for a short time, said police remained there "for quite a long time".
She had stopped Katu earlier that morning and although noticing the car at the scene she "needed to be 100 per cent sure that it was them".
"It wasn't just a straightforward scene and we got to family as soon as necessary and apologise but we did it as soon as we could."
McDonald replied that their "neighbours knew that Tim had died before we did".
Anderson said it wasn't something police had released and they shut the scene down "pretty quickly".
As for the truck driver, McDonald wondered why Turner wasn't tested for drugs like the victims as he was an older man who could have been on medication. He had also notched up 177 logbook omissions in the short time prior to the crash.
Senior Constable David Tidmarsh agreed he wasn't charged over logbook offences. Turner was eventually charged with more serious offences, but acquitted.
The inquest also heard it was common for trucks to speed up as they entered the quarry.
Senior Constable David Tidmarsh agreed trucks did speed up but the road had modified since the crash, with a median barrier being installed at the entranceway to make sure trucks slowed down.
However, Steele said she had visited the scene on several occasions and noticed they used the quarry's exit to drive in, instead of going around the new median barrier.
"Do they not care?" Steele asked the coroner.
In his evidence, Tidmarsh said Turner had 150m visibility from turning into the entrance to where Katu had begun rounding the bend.
Both vehicles had turned the same direction in an attempt to avoid a crash, resulting in them colliding head-on.
Two more witnesses are due to give evidence, including Turner.
TRUCK DRIVER CLEARED
Turner pleaded not guilty to three charges of careless driving causing death in the Te Kuiti District Court in May last year.
In her reserved decision, issued a month later, Judge Kim Saunders said she was "satisfied Mr Turner was careful".
"He knew the environment and he did look towards the corner to see if the road was clear. He did not see the Mazda."
Having regard to the "totality of the evidence", she couldn't dismiss the possibility that when Turner began his turn the Mazda was already on the straight 150m piece of road but "unseen because of the shadow cast by the tree".
"In that circumstance a reasonable and prudent driver who looked towards the corner would not have seen the Mazda until the last few seconds ... when it was too late to take evasive action."