A MAN has died after collapsing at the wheel of his car and crashing into a tree.

Terence Jeffries, 66, of Caspian Road, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, died following the crash, which happened at about 2.40pm on the A19, near Hartlepool, yesterday. 

Durham Police say Mr Jeffries, who was driving a grey Skoda Octavia Estate, is believed to have suffered a medical episode at the wheel and veered across lane one of the northbound carriageway, colliding with a tree.

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The vehicle then rebounded back onto the carriageway, coming to a standstill near the central reservation. 

The Great North Air Ambulance and the North East Ambulance Service attended  but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police are appealing for witnesses following the collision, which happened between  Sheraton and Hutton Henry, about 800 metres south of the junction for Hutton Henry.

A police spokesperson said: "Durham Constabulary are appealing for witnesses to the collision and would particularly like to speak to anyone who may have dashcam footage.

"Please call 101 quoting reference 307 of January 18."