MOTORISTS and coach passengers had a lucky escape after they walked away from a five vehicle pile-up on the A19.
A coach, a van and three cars were involved in a smash on the northbound carriageway, just past the A179 turn-off on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
Both lanes were blocked after the crash at 8.30am yesterday, as reported minutes later on www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk.
But despite the damage, including the front window of the coach being smashed, police say no-one was seriously injured with just one woman complaining of shoulder pain.
The road was temporarily closed with traffic diverted as paramedics checked people over and debris was cleared for 30 minutes.
The outside lane of the dual carriageway remained shut even longer as it was blocked by the damaged coach and cars, which took two hours to remove.
A Durham Police spokeswoman said: “There was a multi-vehicle crash on the A19 involving a coach during the busy rush-hour period.
“No one was seriously hurt in the incident but the road was closed and then the outside lane remained shut for some time.
“It was reopened at 10.30am after emergency services visited the scene and the coach, which had blocked the majority of the road, was taken away.”
A Ford Transit van, black Ford Fiesta, silver Volkswagen Golf, black Mitsubishi Colt and a National Holidays coach were involved in the incident.
The rear of the Fiesta was destroyed while the other vehicles suffered minor damage.
Those travelling south were also hit by tailbacks after a wheel came off a Citroen Saxo car, which also happened near the A179 turn-off just before 8.30am.
Traffic was said to have backed up for three miles while the car was taken away.