Tributes have been paid to a 20-year-old driver who was days away from becoming a father after he died when his car crashed with a tree.

The family of Leighton Mileson, 20, of Sunderland, have paid tribute to their “beautiful lad” following the one-vehicle crash last week that claimed the life of their loved one.

Just before 10.30pm on Thursday (February 29) police received a report of a one-vehicle crash in Houghton-le-Spring on Burdon Lane near the A690.

For reasons yet to be established, the silver Ford Fiesta is believed to have left the road and crashed with a tree.

The Northern Echo: Leighton Mileson, 20, from SunderlandLeighton Mileson, 20, from Sunderland (Image: NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)

Leighton, who was the driver, was taken to hospital where he died the next day.

A passenger in the car, a male aged 16, suffered minor injuries.

Following the tragic incident, his family have now issued the following tribute: “We are devastated and shocked at the loss of our beautiful lad Leighton.

“He always had a smile that lit up any room he walked in and did not have a bad bone in his body.

“He was loved by so many and what hurts the most is that he was just days away from being a dad.

“We are all destroyed, but the memories we have will be cherished forever. Love you always.”

In the aftermath of the crash and Leighton's death, an investigation has been launched by the Force’s Motor Patrols Department to determine the circumstances of the collision.

Sergeant Dave Roberts said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Leighton’s loved ones at this time and we will support his family in any way we can.


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“A thorough investigation has been underway since this tragedy to establish what has happened.

“As part of this, we continue to appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and may be able to assist us in coming forward.

“This includes anyone who may have dashcam footage from the area in the moments leading up to the collision.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the ‘Report’ page of the Northumbria Police website or call 101, quoting log number NP-20240229-1178.