AN elderly man has died after his car was in an accident as it crossed the A66 during the rush-hour.

The accident happened just after 5pm at the central reservation crossing for the village of Long Newton, near Stockton.

The man and a woman, who was driving the Fiesta, were believed to be travelling from Durham Tees Valley Airport towards the Middlesbrough area.

As the car crossed the busy road, it was in collision with a van travelling westbound.

Firefighters from Stockton and Thornaby and an emergency tender were called to the scene as well as two ambulances.

The man, who was a passenger in the car, has not been named.

He was trapped for 40 minutes and firefighters had to cut the roof off the car to free him.

The woman also had to be cut from the wreckage.

A spokeswoman for the Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance service said the man was taken to North Tees Hospital, in Stockton, with multiple injuries but later died. It was unclear last night what injuries the woman had sustained.

The van driver was able to walk away from his vehicle.

The crash blocked the westbound lane of the notorious A66 on the edge of Teesside for a number of hours. The stretch of road, dubbed "death mile" by residents, has been the scene of various accidents at the central reservation crossing in recent years.

The road was closed by Cleveland Police accident investigators and traffic was diverted through Long Newton and on to the airport bypass.

The accident came after a lorry fire caused traffic chaos on the A1 yesterday. Long tailbacks built up and police closed the southbound side of the road for seven hours.