Live powerlines and some agitated bees presented a number of challenges to emergency services responding to a fatal crash on SH29 near Matamata early this morning.
Motorists travelling between Tauranga and Hamilton have been told to expect delays following the crash about one kilometre west of Te Poi which police say was spotted by a sharp eyed truck driver.
The truck driver raised the alarm at about 1.45am after seeing a flash in his rear mirror.
"The driver of the truck and trailer unit noticed a large utility pull in behind him from a lay-by and follow him over the Kaimais, the vehicle then continued to tail him through Te Poi when he noticed a bright flash in his rear view mirror," acting senior sergeant Dale Smith said.
The truck driver turned around and found a "severely damaged utility" upside down with a power pole fallen on top of it.
"To compound issues further, not only were there live power lines posing a risk, the utility had been carrying a load of beehives and the inhabitants of these hives were understandably agitated," Mr Smith said.
Fire, police and ambulance staff were joined by power company employees who made the scene safe enough for emergency services to tend the sole occupant of the utility but he could not be saved.
"SH29 is expected to be closed for several hours as work goes on to recover the driver's body and remove the vehicle and smashed power pole," Mr Smith said.
"An off duty police officer, who is also a bee keeper, has been bought in to assist with the recovery of the hives with several of the attending emergency service personnel having experienced several stings."
The Police Serious Crash Unit is investigating.