Northland's emergency services workers are despairing after a second fatal accident in two days south of Whangarei claimed the life of a Christchurch man.
Whangarei police Sergeant Neil Pennington said the 43-year-old Christchurch man was a passenger in an American car which collided with another vehicle just north of the Prescott Rd/State Highway One roundabout at Ruakaka at 4pm on Saturday.
A third car then became involved. Another man was taken to Whangarei Hospital in a critical condition after the accident, which blocked one lane of SH1 for over an hour.
Mr Pennington said the police Serious Crash Unit was investigating the accident.
It was the second fatal accident on the stretch of highway south of Whangarei in two days and brings the Northland road toll for the year to 16, more than double last year's record low toll of seven.
SH1 at Kaiwaka was closed for several hours from about 11am on Friday after a woman died when the Mitsubishi Legnum she was in collided head-on with an empty, south-bound Smith & Davies logging truck-and-trailer.
Five people have now died in crashes on SH1 between the Brynderwyns and Whangarei in just over two months and emergency service workers are also feeling the pain.
Ruakaka Fire Service station officer Colin Turner said firefighters had to cut a person from one of the cars on Saturday and it was sad that another person had died on the stretch of highway in such a short space of time.
Mr Turner said just like Friday's crash, a dog was badly injured in one of the cars on Saturday that had to be put down by a vet.
He urged motorist to take more care on the roads and guard against complacency.
"There have been a number (of crashes) on that stretch of road in recent weeks and many of them have been on relatively straight stretches of road."
Mr Turner said he regularly witnessed stupid driving behaviour on the stretch of road, with one person nearly getting hit by an oncoming car while overtaking a line of other traffic as he was returning to Ruakaka yesterday.
"I don't know what's going on with some people out there, it's so frustrating. It's terrible having to go to these accidents. We've all got families as well and it can be quite hard to do this - we are just picking up the pieces and that's not nice at all sometimes."
Mr Turner said a scary side of the job for firefighters was that when they were rushing to fatal accidents there was always the thought in the back of their mind that it could be somebody they know and love caught up in the crash. "That's the frightening thing for brigade members, you just don't know what's ahead."
Meanwhile, the male driver of a car had to be cut from the wreckage and airlifted to Auckland hospital after a two-car crash on SH1, just past the fuel station at Te Hana, about 12.35pm on Saturday.