U-turn cost Hartlepool driving expert his life

The scene of the fatal RTA A179 Hart Flyover.
The scene of the fatal RTA A179 Hart Flyover.

A MOTORIST who was killed in a horror smash with a minibus as he tried to perform a u-turn in the road was a former driving instructor.

The 60-year-old driver, from Hartlepool, died and 11 people in the minibus were injured after a smash on the B1280, as it joins the A179 Hart bypass, on the outskirts of town.

He was airlifted to hospital after being cut free from the wreckage of his silver Citroen C4 - but medics were unable to save his life.

Today police revealed that they believe the man was a former driving instructor whose car collided with the minibus travelling behind him as he performed the manoeuvre in the road.

And they also revealed that they are investigating the possibility he was performing a u-turn to head back into Hartlepool, having taken the left-hand lane on the A179 slip-road from the A19 northbound to beat queuing traffic turning right to Hartlepool.

After reading of the tragedy on our website, readers raised concerns about the “dreadful” junction

Police confirmed that the driver is from Hartlepool and believed to be a former driving instructor who is now a landscape gardener.

And investigators have appealed for information in tracking down relatives.

Both vehicles were heading west, with the car ahead of the bus when the crash happened, around 5.30pm on Thursday.

Police say it is thought that the deceased driver carried out a u-turn in front of the bus, which then collided with the Citroen, on the driver’s near-side.

Visitors to www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk left tributes and comments about the use of the junction near where the incident happened.

One posted: “How many more tragedies before something is done about this dreadful junction?”

Another, thevicar19, wrote: “Its a regular occurrence here, people go along the road to U turn , something must be done ,maybe a light controlled roundabout like further north on the A19 !!

Probably no chance , we cant even get a few potholes filled in !!!”

Mr Mister wrote: “R.I.P :(“.

The man had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters before being airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, but died from his injuries despite efforts to save him.

The bus driver, in his 50s and from Crook, was not injured and 11 passengers on board were not thought to have suffered serious injuries, though they were taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

One woman was hospitalised with a shoulder injury and another complaining of neck and back pain.

Details of the injuries of the other people was not released, but six of the minibus passengers received first-aid from firefighters at the scene.

There was police officers, a total of five fire engines and an emergency tender vehicle at the scene, along with two road ambulances and the air ambulance.

Fire crews were called in from Peterlee, Wheatley Hill, Billingham and Stockton fire stations to the incident, which happened around 5.30pm yesterday.

The road was closed until 11pm while emergency services dealt with the aftermath.

A post-mortem examination was due to take place on Monday.

Relatives, as well as witnesses to the accident, are urged to contact Durham Police’s collision investigation unit on (0191) 3752159.

• A ROAD was closed for around half an hour after a five-car smash.

Police were alerted of the crash in Warrior Drive, Seaton Carew, at around 4.10pm yesterday.

Fortunately nobody was injured in the smash and the road was closed until the vehicles were recovered.