Police have named the American man who died in a car crash yesterday and his new wife who lies critically injured in hospital.
The man was Kenneth Stithem, 31, and his wife is Kirsten Steinke, 28.
The couple, understood to be from New Jersey, had married four days ago in the United States and were holidaying in New Zealand.
It is understood they spent Wednesday blackwater rafting and joking with the chef at Curly's Bar in Waitomo.
Police said the couple overtook a stationary green vehicle on the left-hand side on Waitomo Caves Rd, that was giving way at the intersection, and then turned right towards Te Kuiti into the path of the northbound truck about 9.20am.
Stithem, 31, was killed and his wife was cut out of the car by fire crews, before being taken to Waikato Hospital by air ambulance.
The pair's family had been notified, but police couldn't say whether they were on their way to New Zealand.
The chef at Curly's Bar, Bridget Brown, was equally shocked by the accident, after having met the couple on Wednesday evening.
"They joked about how each year they put a map on the table and a member of the family gets to pick a destination and this year it was the wife who chose New Zealand - the next morning they crashed into a truck."
The intersection is a busy one, used by motorists visiting the Waitomo Caves village, and locals, including Brown, regard it as an accident black spot.
Ross O'Halloran, a tour guide at The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company, uses the intersection a dozen times a week, driving to work from his Te Kuiti home.
"You take your life in your own hands every time you pull out of there, " he said. "It's a dangerous intersection. You really have to give it some stick to get out of there to get in with the traffic.
"People go on about how it is tourists, they sometimes end up on the other side of the road, but the locals don't slow down, " O'Halloran said.
US embassy spokesman David Edginton expressed deepest condolences to the honeymooners' family and friends.
He said consular officers from Auckland were in contact with the families and were providing assistance.
Police were asking for the driver of the green vehicle to make contact, along with anyone else who may have witnessed the crash.
Anyone with further information was asked to contact Constable Kent Morrissey of the Waikato serious crash unit on 07-850 7050.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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