A MAN was seriously ill last night after being hit by a suspected stolen car.

The 37-year-old suffered head and leg injuries when he was knocked down crossing a busy Darlington road.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as emergency crews dealt with the accident in the Haughton area of Darlington shortly after 9.15am yesterday.

The driver of a Ford Focus, an 18-year-old from Darlington, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of aggravated vehicle taking.

He was taken to Darlington police station for questioning about the ownership of the vehicle, before being bailed last night, pending further inquiries.

The injured man, who has not been named but is believed to be from the Darlington area, was knocked unconscious as he crossed Haughton Road at the traffic lights on the junction of McMullen Road.

He is now recovering in Darlington Memorial Hospital where doctors said he is in a serious but stable condition.

The car driver and his male passenger suffered minor injuries in the crash.

A police spokesman said last night: "The man was crossing the road across one lane of stationary traffic and was hit by the car on the inside lane among traffic that was going along Haughton Road.

"An 18-year-old was arrested at the scene on suspicion of aggravated taking without the owner's consent."

An investigation has been launched by Durham Police's accident investigation team.

The road was closed for two hours while officers carried out inquiries.

A North-East ambulance spokeswoman said an ambulance and a paramedic motorcyclist arrived at the scene shortly after 9.20am.

She said: "A pedestrian had been knocked over at the bottom of Haughton Road. One patient was taken to casualty with head injuries and he was unconscious."

Anybody who saw the incident or has any more information can contact police on (01325) 467681.