A WOMAN was airlifted to hospital with multiple injuries after a crash which closed a dual carriageway for hours.
A second person also needed hospital treatment after the collision at Friday teatime.
Thousands of motorists faced tailbacks stretching back up to 10 miles after two vehicles collided head-on outside Hartlepool.
The Great North Air Ambulance took the woman, believed to be in her 40s, to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, following the incident at 4.34pm yesterday on the southbound carriageway of the A19 at Dalton Piercy.
Police, three ambulances, five fire engines and the air ambulance attended.
A man from the second vehicle was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton with non life-threatening injuries.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious road traffic collision which occurred on the A19 southbound at 4.30pm on Friday near Dalton Piercy.
“A black Renault Clio was in collision with a black Corsa which resulted in the female driver of the Corsa being air-lifted to James Cook University Hospital with serious head and back injuries.
“The A19 was closed off in both directions while the air ambulance landed.”
Air ambulance paramedic Jane Peacock said the woman was anaesthetised at the roadside before being flown to hospital.
The road was expected to have re-opened by 11pm on Friday night.
Any witnesses who have not spoken to police are asked to call officers on 101.