THE devastated family of a driver who died on the region’s roads in the early hours of New Year’s Day have paid tribute to a loving son and loyal friend.

Outdoor enthusiast Mark Newton Stebbings was driving a Subaru Impreza when it flipped over and hit a tree on the A167 dual carriageway near the Cock o’ the North roundabout, south of Durham City, at 3am on Wednesday (January 1).

The 38-year-old, of Park View Terrace, Langley Moor, near Durham City, who was alone in the car and travelling north towards Durham, died of his injuries when he was just two miles from reaching home.

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Today (Friday, January 3), his distraught parents Ann and Thomas Stebbings released a personal tribute via Durham Police.

In a statement they said: “Mark was a loving son and loyal friend.

“He was an animal-lover and enjoyed many outdoor pursuits such as camping, walking, cycling, hunting and fishing.

“He also loved cooking and kept himself fit and healthy.”

They added: “We have been left devastated by our loss.”

Mr Stebbing’s Impreza flipped over, hit a tree in the central reservation and was left on its roof.

Police and fire crews, who had recently returned to work following a six-hour strike, went to the scene but nothing could be done to save the driver.

No other vehicles were involved and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the crash.

A file has been prepared for the Durham Coroner and an inquest into Mr Stebbing’s death is expected to be opened and adjourned at The Workplace, Newton Aycliffe, on Tuesday.

The A167 was closed for several hours following the crash.

  • Meanwhile, an inquest into the death of Mevlin Bandtock will be opened and adjourned at the Coroner’s court in Crook on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old, from Annfield Plain, near Stanley, died after his motorcycle hit a patch of ice, skidded and became trapped under an oncoming single decker bus on the B6313 Craghead Lane, also near Stanley, on Saturday morning.