A car loaded with alcohol which crashed this morning, killing three people, hit the only tree on the stretch of road it was travelling on.
Emergency services were called to Gordonton Rd, between Boyd and Borman roads, northeast of Hamilton, at 5.05am after a passing motorist spotted the crash.
Fire Service spokesman Colin Underdown said four people had been trapped inside the vehicle and had to be cut free.
Three people died, while one man, believed to be in his 20s, was taken to Waikato Hospital, St John Ambulance spokesman Norman Ngatai said.
"One of the major concerns of course is the amount of alcohol which has been found in the vehicle and the smell of alcohol within the vehicle," Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman said.
"It appears this crash has been totally avoidable from as far as we're concerned."
Serious crash unit officers were at the scene, and the road was expected to be closed for some time.
Diversions were in place, but motorists were advised to avoid the area where possible.
Louise Stainthorpe, who operates Cats Whiskers boarding cattery and farms land on both sides of the road where the crash happened, was unaware of the accident until she woke at 6am, by which time emergency services were already on the scene.
Stainthorpe said she had not seen any accidents in the stretch of road near where she lived in the 10 years she had lived there.
"We made comment only last week that we never have accidents here. They have managed to hit the only tree there."
Gordonton Rd is a common alternative to SH1 for northbound traffic heading out of the east side of Hamilton.
Parts of the road are notorious for speed and accidents. The family of one pedestrian killed there last year called it the "road of death".