A man who drove and crashed a car in Gisborne, leaving his passenger with life-ending injuries, has been charged in court.

The crash happened on Ormond Road in Mangapapa around 8.30pm on Saturday, when the ute the man was driving collided with a firewood trailer.

The passenger in the car, 29-year-old Wairoa man Terito Takekerekere Brown, received critical injuries in the collision.

He was rushed to Gisborne Hospital by ambulance, but died yesterday afternoon.

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The driver of the car, a 25-year-old man, received minor injuries in the crash.

He refused medical treatment from St John ambulance medical crews.

The driver has been charged with driving dangerously causing death, driving while disqualified and refusing officers' request for blood.

He appeared in Gisborne District Court today.

A woman who lives in Ormond Rd, close to where the ute ended up, and who was first on the scene, told The Herald the ute went out of control coming off the Wi Pere St roundabout.

"It crossed the centre line, smashed into a stationary trailer full of firewood and ended up on the footpath.

"It was a miracle no one was coming the other way, was walking on the footpath or got caught up in the crash as it unfolded," she said.

Her 18-year-old daughter was at the Ballance St shops when she heard the vehicle "scream" by at high speed.

"She saw the vehicle go up on two wheels as it veered around the Wi Pere St roundabout, before it started to go out of control."

When the woman arrived at the scene she said the driver was able to get out of the ute and she held on to him until emergency services arrived.

The passenger was not responsive and her daughter helped attend to him with others until the ambulance arrived.

Someone else who arrived at the scene turned off the ignition to prevent a fire.

The serious crash unit is investigating.