A man has died and a second person has been taken to hospital in a critical condition after a fatal motorcycle crash in County Durham.

Emergency services were called to Passfield Way, off the A19 in Old Shotton, near Peterlee, at around 2.45am on Saturday morning.

It is understood one man, the pillion rider, suffered fatal injuries and a second, the driver of the vehicle, was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.

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Durham Police have said that the collision happened during a brief pursuit after the motorcyclist failed to stop for officers.

Paul Cummings, duty group manager for County Durham Darlington Fire and Rescue, which attended the incident, said: “Two fire appliances from our Peterlee station, and colleagues from the police and ambulance service attended a road traffic collision on Passfield Way.

“It was one motorcycle which came in collision with a traffic control device on the roundabout.

“Two males were on the motorcycle. One suffered injuries and was taken to hospital and one was a fatality at the scene

“It is very sad. I would like to offer my condolences to all of the families involved and praise the professionalism of all of the emergency services."

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The injured man was taken to James Cook University Hospital by North East Ambulance Service - where he remains in a critical condition.

A spokesperson said: “We were called by the police at 2.38am this morning (March 25) to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorbike near the roundabout next to Passfield Way and Donerstone Grove.

“We dispatched two paramedic crews, a doctor, a clinical team leader and duty officer who took one patient to hospital.”

The road was closed by Durham Constabulary who will be carrying out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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A spokesperson for Durham Police said: "A man has died following a road traffic collision in Peterlee in the early hours of this morning.

"Two men on a motorbike crashed in Passfield Way, just after 2.30am, following a brief pursuit by officers after it failed to stop.

"Durham Constabulary would like to express our condolences to his family and friends.

The statement added: "The driver was also seriously injured and taken to where he remains in a critical condition.

"The road was closed for several hours whilst specialist collision investigators carried out their enquiries. It is now reopen.

"If you have any information, contact the Collision Investigation Team on  01325 742702 or email catherine.iley@durham.police.uk with contact details and a member of the team will call you back."