(Sad day for our community and their families)
Three Americans killed in violent Waikato collisionPHILLIPA YALDEN
Utah woman Ruth-Ann Peterson, 49, and her husband Mitchell Peterson, 50, from Monroe, Utah, died in the crash along with Tamara Garlick Barnett, police said.
Barnett's husband Richard Barnett, 56, was taken to Waikato Hospital with moderate injuries.
Police said the four Americans travelling in a Toyota Highlander turned right onto Tuhikaramea Rd into the path of an oncoming truck and trailer unit heading south from Whatawhata towards Pirongia.
They were travelling in convoy with another group who witnessed the crash.
He said police were "absolutely gutted" that another crash had claimed three lives, bringing the Waikato road toll this year to 13.
"This is an absolute tragedy," Penno said.
"Those tourists were visitors to our country and we live in the most beautiful country in the world."
"The crash is currently being investigated by a raft of teams in using serious crash and commercial investigation unit who are working to confirm what has occurred," he said.
A police officer who was first on the scene had provided first aid until paramedics arrived.
Emergency services were called to the intersection of Kakaramea Rd and Tuhikaramea Rd near Ngahinapouri, about 5.30pm.
The three victims died at the scene. The truck driver escaped with minor injuries.
It was understood Richard Barnett was driving the Toyota Highlander.
Gilmour Road residents, a few hundred metres down from the crash site, said the stretch of road where the accident happened was dangerous.
"The intersection [where the crash happened] is dodgy," one said.
"Trucks come over the hill without you seeing it and you just don't have time to come out of the intersection safely if you're speeding.
"It would make a difference I think if they lowered the speed level down here to 80kmh."
Last month a family of four United States citizens living in Hong Kong died when the car they were in collided with a logging truck north of Tokoroa. Warren Lee, 53, Aesoon Lee, 52, and their daughter 20-year-old Julia Lee died at the scene. Their son, Griffin Lee, 17, died later in hospital.
The family were travelling in a car heading north on State Highway 1, which crossed the centre line and hit a logging truck travelling south.
The family had come to New Zealand to settle their daughter - who had been living in Massachusetts - into university in Auckland.Her 18-year-old brother, Griffin Lee, also a United States citizen living in Hong Kong, survived the crash but later died in Waikato Hospital.
Julia Lee was driving the car when it crashed, while her parents were in the back seat and not wearing seatbelts, police said.