TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular couple who died after their motorbike was in a collision with an HGV.
Neighbours of the man and woman today said their community was “in shock” after the pair were killed in the A19 smash at the weekend.
The 20-year-old man and his 21-year-old partner, both from Seaham, were pronounced dead at the scene following the crash at 2.45am on Saturday.
The driver of the HGV, a 51-year-old man from Pontefract in West Yorkshire, was uninjured in the collision.
He was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
Today, neighbours living in Northlea, where the 20-year-old lived with his parents, said they had been left saddened by the deaths.
Jean Jackson, 55, said: “We had heard they were both from round here.
“That’s so sad, my heart really goes out to their families, it’s such an awful thing to have happened.”
The Echo understands the couple, who have not been formerly identified, were both former pupils of Seaham School of Technology.
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s terrible what’s happened.
“Everyone was talking about it in the club last night, people are in shock.
“I feel so badly for both the families, they were just kids and had their whole lives in front of them.”
The crash happened just after 2.45am on the A19 northbound, near Hawthorn services.
The road had to be closed for most of Saturday as accident investigators attempted to discover what had happened in the run-up to the tragedy.
Following his arrest, the HGV driver was interviewed at Peterlee Police Station before being bailed until September 25.
The couple are understood to have grown up in the Seaham area and had a large group of friends.
Now police are appealing for other drivers on the A19 at the time of the accident to come forward.
Sergeant Jonathan Morgan, who is leading the investigation, said: “While we work to establish what happened in the lead up to the collision, we would ask for anyone who may have seen either to come forward as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the collision investigation team on 375 2159.