DEVASTATED relatives are today coming to terms with the loss of three members of their family in a horrific car crash.
A one-year-old baby girl, a 18-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man were killed when their Renault Megane collided with a lorry.
The three generations of the same family were all from the Houghton area.
The driver of the Volvo truck involved in the incident, a 42-year-old man from Hetton, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He is in police custody and is due to be interviewed later this afternoon.
The tragedy happened on Seaton Lane, between Houghton and Seaham, close to Sharpley Golf Club, at 12.20pm yesterday.
A 74-year-old woman, who was travelling in the front of the car, was today in a serious condition at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, after being transferred from the scene by the Great North Air Ambulance Service.
Her condition on arrival at its trauma centre, 12 minutes after leaving the scene, was described as life-threatening.
The lorry driver was treated for whiplash injuries after being taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital by ambulance.
The force of the collision resulted in his vehicle going through a fence, hedges, over an embankment and coming to rest on the golf course where a group of Sunderland off-duty police officers were playing.
The car had been travelling towards Seaham and the truck, carrying construction materials, towards Houghton when they collided.
The road was closed until early yesterday evening for further investigations.
The vehicles were taken away for examination.
Simon Weightman, director of golf at Sharpley Golf Course, today told how the off-duty police officers were playing the 15th hole when the truck ploughed through two sets of hedges and a group of saplings before coming to a stop.
He said: “They heard a bang and I just saw the lorry on the fairway and thought ‘what is that doing there?’
“It must have travelled 250m from the road before it came to a halt and the driver got out and fell on the ground. This is yet another horrific crash on this road.”
The truck’s fuel tank ruptured and diesel leaked on to the green.
The police officers urged greenkeepers and staff to leave the vehicle where it had come to a stop to help investigators.
Mr Weightman said the speed limit should be reduced from 60mph to 50mph because it is an accident black spot.
The identities of those killed are due to be released later today.