A WOMAN is in a critical condition after being involved in a traffic smash on the A19.
The road has been closed near Sheraton following two incidents involving four cars near the turn off for the A179 to Hartlepool.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service say that six casualties have been pulled out of the vehicles by fire service personnel and are being treated by ambulance staff.
The Air Ambulance is also on scene with the road likely to remain closed for the next few hours.
One woman suffered critical injuries, requiring surgery and a blood transfusion at the roadside.
Once she was stablised she was flown in a critical condition to the major trauma centre at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough in four minutes.
Durham Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash and an earlier collision on the same road.
The first incident occurred on A19 just after 10am this morning where it is believed a vehicle turned onto the A19 to travel north on the southbound carriageway at Sheraton and collided with another vehicle.
Two people have been taken to hospital with none life threatening injuries.
The second incident took place on the A19 at about 10.30am, where it is believed a VW Polo collided with a Ford Ka and a Mini Cooper.
Six people have been taken to local hospitals including the woman flown to James Cook.
One person has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
Sgt Wells of Durham Constabulary road policing unit would like to speak with anybody who may have seen the collisions.
Anybody with any information is requested to contact Collision Investigation Unit on 0191 375 2159 or Durham Police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference DHM-15032015-0135.