One girl was airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries and two others hurt after a car mounted the kerb and run into them.
The collision involving a blue-coloured Ford Focus and the young pedestrians happened in Skelton Street shortly before 4pm today.
Police say early inquiries suggest that the driver lost control and mounted the kerb.
An 11-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital with what police describe as ‘serious head injuries’.
Another girl, aged 12, suffered a broken leg, while a third girl, also aged 12, suffered only minor injuries.
A 46-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and is being questioned by police.
We sent one patient to University Hospital of North Tees by road. One patient has been taken by air ambulance to James Cook Hospital.North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman
Emergency services were called to the street after the collision at around 3.45pm today.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at around 3.45pm to reports of a serious collision on Skelton Street in Hartlepool.
“A blue Ford Focus mounted the kerb and hit three pedestrians.
“A 12-year-old girl received minor injuries, a second 12-year-old girl was taken to North Tees Hospital with a suspected broken leg and an 11-year-old girl was taken to James Cook University Hospital by air ambulance with a serious head injuries.
“Early inquiries suggest that the driver lost control and mounted the kerb.
“A 46-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and is in police custody.
“Officers are appealing for information and would like to hear from anyone who had seen the Ford Focus in the area prior to the incident, or who may have seen the manner of driving.”
There is also damage to a wall and a lamppost in the street.
It is believed the young girls had been walking home from school when the collision happened.
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 15.41 to the West View area of Hartlepool.
“We sent on officer, two ambulances and the air ambulance.
“We sent one patient to University Hospital of North Tees by road.
“One patient has been taken by air ambulance to James Cook Hospital.”
An eye-witness said: “It was terrible. There were emergency services all over the street and it was clear straightaway that it was serious.
“One of the girls didn’t seem as badly hurt but I really hope they’re both ok.”
A passerby said: “One of the girls was unconscious when she was taken away.
“They were coming home from school and then this happened.
“It’s awful. You can see how much damage has been done to the wall.”
Another passerby said: “I didn’t see it happen. But I heard a loud bang and went over to try to help.
“There were two girls lying on the ground obviously hurt. One of them looked to be injured badly. But thankfully the other one didn’t seem to be as bad.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101.