A TEENAGE driver has died after his car collided with a tree on a rural road in County Durham.

The 18-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the A688 Staindrop Road, near West Auckland, on Friday, February 28.

Police are yet to confirm the identity of the man, but he is known to be local to the area. 

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His passenger, a 16-year-old girl, suffered minor injuries and had to be freed from the blue Vauxhall Corsa by firefighters.

She was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for treatment and was released shortly afterwards.

Police officers believe the man was travelling north towards Bishop Auckland when he lost control of the vehicle at around 6.45pm.

The car then left the road and collided with a tree.

It is thought debris left on the road from a potential crash earlier that day could have played a part in the accident.

Acting inspector Peter Tate said: “Durham Constabulary would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the Corsa at all around the time of the accident or who may have seen any vehicle broken down close to the collision scene throughout the day.”

Firefighters from Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe and a special rescue unit from Bishop Auckland attended the accident, along with police officers and paramedics.

The road was closed in both directions for eight hours following the accident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Police’s collision investigation unit on 0191-375-2159 or non-emergency number, 101, quoting incident number DHM28022014-0409.