Call for traffic lights at killer A179 junction on the outskirts of Hartlepool

The cars involved in the A179 RTA close to the Hart/A19 flyover
The cars involved in the A179 RTA close to the Hart/A19 flyover

URGENT action has been called for after a pensioner became the latest victim of a killer junction.

The 85-year-old woman was travelling as a passenger in a white Ford Ka when it collided with a black Mitsubishi Warrior on the A179, near to the junction leading to the northbound carriageway of the A19, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

The unnamed victim is the second person to die on the stretch of road in a matter of weeks and today Councillor Paul Beck – who was also hurt in an accident at the “deadly junction” several years ago – called for action to be taken before another life is claimed.

Durham County Council has now confirmed safety work is expected to take place in the autumn.

Police say the Ford Ka was heading west from the town with the Mitsubishi heading in the other direction, and the crash happened as the Ford looked to turn right onto the A19 and the vehicles collided head-on.

The collision happened shortly before 8pm on Monday and ambulance, fire crews and police rushed to the scene.

The OAP was taken by ambulance to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where she died from her injuries around 10 hours later.

The driver of the Ford Ka, an 84-year-old man from Spennymoor, suffered whiplash injuries and bruising.

The 43-year-old female driver of the Warrior and her 15-year-old son, who was the front seat passenger, suffered similar injuries.

A Durham Police spokesman said: “A pensioner who was seriously hurt in a car crash yesterday evening has sadly died in hospital from her injuries.

“The 85-year-old, who is from Durham, was a passenger in a white Ford Ka which collided with a black Mitsubishi Warrior near Sheraton at the junction where the A179 and B1280 meet the A19.

“However, the 85-year-old lady who was the front seat passenger in the Ford Ka suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.”

In May, former driving instructor Colin Brown, of Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, lost his life after his silver Citroen C4 was involved in a collision with a minibus.

Police believed he was possibly performing a U-turn near to the same spot.

Coun Beck, who represents the Hart ward and also sits on Hart Parish Council, which has also raised the dangers of the junction, said regardless of the cost, safety measures such as traffic lights should be introduced.

He said: “What price do we put on people’s lives before we act? We could all sit back and do nothing and watch this situation get steadily worse, or we can urge the local authorities to get together and do something positive as this situation is not going to go away.

“I have first-hand experience of this junction, back in 2006 I was indicating to turn right onto the A19 on my motor scooter and another motorbike came up from behind and wrote me off.

“I wound up in Hartlepool hospital, and if it was not for our superb paramedics I would not have survived to tell the tale.

“I urge the authorities to be positive and act sooner than later.”

Dave Wafer, traffic manager at Durham County Council, said: “Following a previous incident we have put forward proposals to improve safety at this junction, specifically to prevent vehicles performing a U-turn, and it is expected that the physical works will be undertaken in the autumn.

“Initial reports suggest the circumstances of this most recent tragic accident were not similar to the previous incident but we will need to await the outcome of the accident investigation before we can look at whether any additional action is needed.”

Police today appealed for witnesses to Monday’s crash to contact the collision investigation unit on (0191) 3752159.