A CYCLIST was killed and another seriously injured in a crash with a car today.

Two men were cycling along the A167 Croft Road outside Darlington at 10am when they were involved in a collision with a passing Citroen C4.

The 68-year-old female driver from Newton Aycliffe, and both cyclists, who are believed to be from South Tyneside, were knocked unconscious in the crash.

The cyclists were airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough but one later died. The second remains in hospital in a stable condition. His injuries are described as serious but not life threatening.

The driver received treatment at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Julia Breen, The Northern Echo's women's editor, passed the scene moments after the accident happened.

"As I was driving into town I saw the car with its windscreen caved in driving along the kerb in the direction of Croft," she said.

"There were two cyclists lying on the road and people were giving them first aid. They were not moving."

Neil Banner, a rapid response paramedic from Newton Aycliffe, was first at the scene.

Mr Banner thanked the passing drivers who stopped to help with the treatment of the injured people.

"I was there on my own at first and I had three unconscious people to deal with," he said.

"It is quite difficult to deal with three patients at once, and you have to prioritise the patient with the greatest need while keeping an eye on the rest.

"Two men and two women who were passing when the accident happened stayed with the patients and kept talking to them, and they kept me informed in case their condition changed.

"They were driving by and they saw the accident happen.

"One of them was an off duty nurse who managed to apply a couple of dressings to one of the men's heads.

"I would like to thank those people who helped me because it really was invaluable."

The accident happened midway between the Reg Vardy garage and Croft-on-Tees. The road was closed for most of the day while officers from the police accident unit examined the scene.

The crash is the latest in a series of fatal accidents to happen on the A167 between Darlington and Northallerton after a six year old boy died in a three car collision in April last year, and a 39-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a smash two months later.