TRIBUTES have been paid to the baby girl and two members of her family who died when their car was involved in a horror smash with a lorry.
Destiny Reed, 14 months old, her mum Natalie Simpson, 18, and the tot’s great-grandfather Robert Reed, 75, all from Houghton, were killed when the Renault Megane Scenic driven by the pensioner was in a head-on collision with the truck.
Robert’s wife Margaret remains in James Cook Memorial Hospital in Middlesbrough after being airlifted to its trauma unit with serious injuries.
after Wednesday’s accident, which happened on the B1404 Seaham to Houghton road.
Family and friends have left flowers at the scene of the crash, with messages included: “To our beautiful grandaughter, Natalie and Bobby“, “Thinking of you at this sad time,” and “Tragic loss, rest in peace.”
It has emerged that Natalie had been honoured for helping to save a man’s life.
She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Northumbria Police, as were two friends, after helping to rescue an 18-year-old man in distress in the Tyne in Low Prudhoe in 2008.
The headteacher of Natalie’s former school has paid tribute to the former pupil.
Dr Iain Shaw, head of Prudhoe Community High School, said: “Natalie Jade is remembered as a caring and thoughtful young lady.
“She embraced motherhood with enthusiasm and maturity. It was clear that she would be a proud and loving mother to her daughter.”
The driver of the Volvo truck, a 42-year-old from Hetton, was yesterday interviewed by police after he was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
He has since been released on bail until June 14 as further inquiries are carried out.
The driver was initially taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering from whiplash and had collapsed after getting out of his cab once his lorry came to a stop 250 metres on to Sharpley Golf Course, after the collision, which happened at 12.20pm on Wednesday,
Shocked golfers, including off duty police Northumbria Police officers, had watched on as the vehicle crashed through two hedges, trees and over an embankment after leaving Seaton Lane.
Natalie had been a hairdressing student at Newcastle College. Deputy principal Carole Kitching said: “We were deeply saddened to hear the news. Natalie left the college last year after achieving a level one in hairdressing and hoped to complete her level two.
“She was a very enthusiastic and dedicated young woman who was extremely well-like by her tutors and fellow students.”