A fatal crash between Tamahere and Cambridge yesterday left a truck on an "extreme angle," a witness says.
The collision between a car and a truck and trailer happened at the intersection of Peake and Hautapu roads about 12.40pm.
The male driver of the car was killed and the truck crashed into a tree. Its trailer rolled.
The truck driver was assessed by St John at the scene but did not need treatment.
Robin McIlraith lives about 400m from the site of the crash, and headed down when he heard sirens - he said others in the area heard an "almighty bang".
Police cars, ambulances and fire engines were at the scene, where he struggled to work out how the truck ended up off the road against a tree.
"I thought it must have come out of Peake Rd to be honest, just because of the extreme angle that it was on," he said.
However, he thought the truck had been coming straight down Hautapu Rd and may have swerved to avoid a car which had either pulled out in front or was making a turn.
"The truck went into the tree and lucky it was on the left-hand side so I thought: ‘He [the driver] might be OK.' But I didn't see the other car because they'd screened it," he said.
Hautapu Rd was a common thoroughfare for trucks because of the nearby truck stops and Fonterra Hautapu site, Mr McIlraith said. It was also a shortcut to bypass SH1B.
Police said the accident was under investigation by the Waikato Serious Crash Unit and it was too early to say who was at fault.
"What we can say is that one of the vehicles has failed to give way, resulting in the loss of one man's life," said incident controller Inspector Jeff Penno.
"All too often it's our compliance with the simplest of road rules that can mean the difference between life and death."
Mr Penno confirmed the sole male occupant of the car died in the crash.
Police expressed their condolences to the family of the deceased man but said the accident was a reminder of why rules were important for safety.
The accident took the road toll in the Waikato police district this year to 13.