A WOMAN was left fighting for her life and seven others were taken to hospital after two road smashes on the A19 in just half an hour.
The 59-year-old had to be given surgery and a blood transfusion at the roadside and was airlifted to hospital after the three-car smash near Sheraton, near to the A179 turn off for Hartlepool, at 10.30am yesterday.
She was flown to James Cook Hospital, in Middlesbrough, by the Great North Air Ambulance helicopter after the collision between the VW Polo she was travelling in with family, a Ford Ka and a Mini Cooper. Her condition was last night described as “critical” by police.
One man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
Five other people involved in the crash – on the northbound carriageway of the road – were also taken to hospital, two with “significant injuries”.
Firefighters were already dealing with an earlier collision – involving a Vauxhall Meriva and a Renault Megane Scenic on the southbound stretch of the road at 10am – when the second crash happened.
Two people were also taken to hospital after the first smash, which police believe happened after one car tried to turn north on the southbound carriageway at Sheraton and collided head on with the other. Neither was thought to have serious injuries.
The road was closed for nearly six hours in both directions, with major tailbacks causing traffic chaos, as motorists were diverted away from the A19.
Around 35 firefighters from the Durham and Cleveland brigades and 15 police attended the scene to deal with both collisions.
Durham Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed either crash to come forward.
Anybody with any information is requested to contact Collision Investigation Unit on (0191) 3752159 or Durham Police on the non-emergency number, 101.
Quote reference DHM-15032015-0135.