A HEARTBROKEN young woman has told how she held her boyfriend as he died in her arms following a fatal car accident.

Ethan Waller, 22, was killed almost instantly when the Dacia Sandero he was travelling in collided with a stationary unoccupied Iveco Daily on Langley Lane, Burnhope, County Durham, just before 9pm on Saturday.

He was a passenger and his girlfriend, Leoni-Jane Stevens, 22, heard him shout a warning before the collision, which left him with multiple injuries.

The couple had been to Chester-le-Street, with a friend, who was driving the Dacia.

Miss Stevens, from Consett, said: “We were on our way back and when we got into Burnhope the sun was quite low.

“I heard Ethan shout something and then the next thing I knew the truck was in the car and Ethan was bleeding.

“I was trying to talk to him, hug him and kiss him.

“I am just glad I was with him. It has not really sunk in yet.”

The Northern Echo:

Ethan Waller died on Saturday evening  

Ethan lived with his mother, Jackie Waller, and brother Nathan, 21, in Delves Lane, near Consett.

Ms Waller, who was supporting Leoni-Jane on Sunday as they both come to terms with their loss, said: “My son had the full blast of the crash.

“Leoni was sitting behind the driver, which is just as well because if she had been sitting behind Ethan she would have probably been killed as well.

“It has smashed the window and come right through the car.

“He was killed almost instantly. He was alive for about a minute. He could hear Leoni talking and could blink when she was talking to him, but then he seemed to go unconscious. He had a lot of internal injuries.”

The road in Burnhope remained closed for several hours into Sunday as emergency services dealt with the incident.

Durham Constabulary is now appealing for anyone who was travelling on Langley Lane between 8.30pm and 9pm to contact them.

Ethan, who was originally from Bishop Auckland, was studying for a degree in humanities with art history with the Open University, and worked as a packer at Epicurium, a health food factory in Consett.

Leoni-Jane, who works at the Pavilion restaurant in Iveston, said: “Ethan was really intelligent.

“He was like an old man and would listen to Radio 4 and read the newspaper.

“He was really funny. He cared about me and loved me a lot.

“He had a heart of gold.”

The Northern Echo:

Leoni-Jane and Ethan were a happy couple 

Ethan, who attended Consett Academy, was said to be popular with fellow pupils.

Ms Waller said: “I don’t think it has hit any of us yet.

"We are expecting him to come back into the house.

“Tomorrow we would be dreading him going to work because he was always so noisy. He would be running down the stairs to get out on time.

“He would slam the door and not lock it and leave the gate open.

“It is going to be so quiet in the house without him.”

Enquiries are ongoing and police are appealing for information or dash cam footage. Call 101 and quote incident reference 466 of July 18.