A man had to be cut free and flown by air ambulance to hospital after suffering serious injuries when his car left the A19 and crashed into a tree.
The A19 northbound was shut near to Hutton Henry and Castle Eden for almost two hours after the one-car crash.
Police, fire service and paramedics were called to a wooded area after a call was made by other drivers who saw the Vauxhall Zafira leave the road to the nearside.
The car had crashed into a tree, causing part of it to fall down, with the vehicle then stuck at an angle as it came to a stop on the stump.
Firefighters from Peterlee, who were called to the scene shortly before 2pm, used cutting equipment to remove the passenger door and windscreen to help free the driver, who is aged in his 40s.
They then worked with the medical team to put him on a spinal board.
He sustained multiple serious injuries in the crash.
He was then airlifted to James Cook University Hospital after the Great North Air Ambulance’s Guardian of the North landed in the field.
Richard Morgan, watch manager at Peterlee Fire Station, said: “The car had left the road to the verge side and into a wooded area.
“It could have easily been missed if someone had not seen it leave the road way.
“It was very difficult to find.
“Half the tree had come down and the car was propped up on the rest of the tree, so it was difficult to get to.”
The road was reopened by 3.45pm.
Another bump was caused on the southbound route as traffic slowed to look at the scene.
A spokesman for GNAA said: “The Great North Air Ambulance were called to assist with a road traffic accident near to the A19 at Castle Eden.
“We worked alongside North East Ambulance Service, police and fire and rescue services to extricate a male occupant of a vehicle.
“After an assessment at scene the patient was flown to the Regional Major Trauma Centre at James Cook Hospital with serious injuries.”