A YOUNG man died and a second was injured after a car left a road and crashed into fencing late last night.

The driver of the Citroen Saxo involved in the accident was confirmed dead at the scene, near Grants Houses, between Easington Colliery and Horden, County Durham, shortly before midnight.

His identity has not been released by police but he is said to be 22 and from Shotton Colliery, near Peterlee.

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The passenger, a 23-year-old man from Easington Colliery, was taken to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for treatment for several injuries.

A Durham force spokeswoman said an officer in an unmarked police vehicle saw the Saxo travelling at speed in the opposite direction on Easington Way, in nearby Peterlee, at about 11.40pm.

“The unmarked car turned round to follow the car.

“Before any attempt was made for it to stop the Saxo left the carriageway and crashed into a concrete fence.

“The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The Northern Echo:

She said the passenger was taken to hospital suffering cuts and bruising to his head and legs, but the injuries were not said to have been considered serious.

The officer in the unmarked car was treated for shock.

As initial inquiries took place the B1283 Sunderland Road, either side of the accident scene, between Grants Houses and Easington Colliery, was closed for five hours.

A full investigation is being led by the force’s road policing unit, while the Durham coroner has been informed.

Durham Police confirmed the Independent Police Crime Commission has been notified of the incident and is, “being kept informed of on-going inquiries”.

Inspector Ed Turner, of the road policing unit, said: “Inquiries are at their very early stages.

“We need to establish the exact circumstances leading up to the crash and establish why the car left the carriageway.

“We are speaking to a number of key witnesses and are keen to hear from anyone else who may have information.”

Witnesses should contact the force on the 101 non-emergency number and ask for the road policing unit.