Friends of a young boxer who died in a car accident at the weekend have gathered at the scene of the tragedy to pay their respects.
The crash victim, named locally as Karl Bennett, was declared dead at the scene of the horror smash, which happened at 12.20am yesterday.
Police say a Ford Mondeo was heading towards South Hetton on the A182, 400 metres north west of the Plants R Ross garden centre, when it went off the road.
It came to rest on its roof in a field, with firefighters from Peterlee called in to free Karl and two others, who were taken to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
One is said to be seriously hurt, with the extent of the injuries to the other young man not yet known.
Yesterday, as news of the tragedy broke, friends of Karl gathered at the spot to leave flowers, cards and boxing gloves as they paid their respects.
We will never forget you and miss you do much, love.Tribute left at the scene of the collision
Karl is believed to be a 17-year-old former Hetton School student, who lived in Easington Lane and boxed with Hetton Town Boxing Club, and who also worked as a gas engineer.
Jake Berry, 21, from South Hetton, said: “I grew up with him in the village. He was a lovely lad.”
Another friend, Matthew Maddison, said: “He was a lovely, respectful lad and we used to box together.
“I was only talking to him yesterday.
“He was a cheerful young man, a real charmer.”
Among the messages left included a note which reads: “Karl Boxer Bennett.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, feels like a horrible nightmare.
“You’ve been taken from us far too soon.
“God only takes the best, but at the wrong times.
“We all have so many memories to cherish with you, now shame it’s the end,
“We will never forget you and miss you do much, love.”
Another says: “Such a loving, caring boy, gonna miss you loads.”
Tributes were also paid on Facebook, with Vicky Green posting: “So very sad. Thoughts and condolences going out to the family of the lad who has passed away and I hope the two other lads recover soon.” Police were called to the scene by the ambulance service, with the road between closed off between the A19 and B1280 Salter’s Lane until yesterday morning as investigations into the cause of the crash began. Durham Constabulary’s helicopter was also called in to carry out checks in the aftermath of the collision.
Anyone who saw the accident or the car in the time leading up to it can call police via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.