A man is fighting for his life in hospital after he was found with serious injuries just minutes from where a car ploughed into a row of garden fences in a late-night crash.
Three people have been arrested and are being questioned following the crash which happened at 11.30pm on Saturday.
One eye witness saw a car pull away from the wreckage in Success Road, Philadelphia and drive off in the direction of Shiney Row.
Shortly afterwards a man, in his 30s, was found, ‘unconscious and bleeding’, just a three-minute drive away in Ross Lea.
The man, who is believed to have been a passenger in the car at the centre of the crash, suffered abdominal injuries caused by a piece of wood which are described as ‘potentially life-threatening’.
The car involved in the crash was later found abandoned in nearby Claremont Drive.
Two men, aged 20 and 21, and a 33-year-old woman have been arrested and are being questioned by police.
A North East Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called to a male patient in his 30s following a road traffic collision. He was unconscious and bleeding with abdominal injuries and was taken to the RVI.”
The spokesman confirmed a piece of wood caused the injuries.
One witness Jack Etherington, who has lived in Ross Lea for 57 years, said: “I was in bed and it must have been just after half past 11 and I heard a lot of people shouting - I thought they must have just come up from the pub.
“But within minutes when I looked out of the bedroom window there was ambulances, police cars and police going about and looking in gardens.”
The 81-year-old added: “When I got up the next morning the police car was out here, it had been there all the night.
“We didn’t know what had happened at first we thought maybe somebody had been stabbed.
“It’s quite peaceful around here we never have any bother at all.”
A hazardous area response team, two ambulances, an air ambulance car and an off duty ambulance officer were at the scene.
A police cordon remained in place on Sunday morning blocking part of the road in Ross Lea.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We found a piece of wood just lying in the garden, we knew it wasn’t ours. We told the police and they took it away. It looks like a bit of wood from a fence - all of our fencing was in tact so we knew it wasn’t ours.
“[What’s happened] is awful.”
The initial crash happened a few minutes drive away in Success Road, where a car shattered a number of back garden fences of properties in Kingston Mews.
One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said the crash happened at around 11.25am and she called the police a minute later.
She said: “When I looked out of the widow the reverse lights were on the car and by the time I got outside it was gone.
“The damaged fences were all over the road.
“There’s no real skid marks and it looks like the car only came to a stop because there was a brick wall behind one of the fences.
“It’s been an accident waiting to happen.”
She says the kitchen window in one of the homes was smashed by flying debris and the fencing was shattered across the road.
“The road was closed off because there was debris everywhere. When the police were done the council did come out and clear it,” added the witness.
A police investigation into the incident is continuing today.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At 11.30pm on Saturday, police received a report of a road traffic collision on Kingston Mews, Philadelphia.
“A car had been driven into a garden fence before leaving the scene.
“A short time later, police were called to Ross Lea, Shiney Row, and found a man – believed to be a passenger in the initial collision - with serious injuries.
“He was taken to hospital with injuries that are described as potentially life-threatening at this time.
“An investigation is ongoing to determine the nature of the incident. The vehicle in question was later located on Claremont Drive, but the occupants had left the scene.
“Two men – aged 20 and 21 – and a 33-year-old woman have been arrested and are currently in police custody. They are assisting officers with their enquiries.
“Anyone with any information surrounding the incident is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 1393 160219 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”