Tees

Bus crashes into Halifax bank in Darlington, killing one

Bus crash on Northgate, Darlington Image copyright PA
Image caption The driver of the bus has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

A bus has crashed into the front of a bank on a busy high street, killing one person and injuring two others.

The elderly female pedestrian died after the vehicle hit a Halifax branch in Darlington, Durham Police confirmed.

The driver of the bus, a 52-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The North East Ambulance Service had three crews at the scene, including a hazardous area response team, trauma paramedics and a helicopter.

Durham Police said the bus had veered off the road, hitting a pillar near the bank's entrance.

See live updates and latest developments on the crash

Image caption One eyewitness said people were crying and being sick

Eyewitnesses described the accident, that happened just before 11:00 BST, as "horrendous".

Shopper Janet Langan said: "The driver's side of the bus was inside the bank. People were being sick and people were crying."

John Dodsworth added: "It's all gone crazy in town. Someone said a lady was under the bus."

'Co-operating fully'

Paul Frazer, who had just got on at a nearby stop, said: "As soon as I sat down the bus jolted forward. It felt like a whoosh, such a fast speed."

He described it as a "scary ordeal" and said passengers were helped off through the emergency exit by a passer-by.

Arriva confirmed the number two service from Branksome to Red Hall was involved in the crash.

"An investigation has been launched and we are co-operating fully with the emergency services and the police, who are leading the investigation," a company statement said.

"We know there will be people concerned about family or friends, and to support them we have set up a dedicated emergency telephone number which is 0191 520 4165."

The bank confirmed the branch was closed while emergency services dealt with the incident.

Image caption The area around Northgate has been cordoned off

Two pedestrians were treated for injuries. The Great North Air Ambulance said medics treated a woman, believed to be in her 50s, for a serious lower leg injury.

Shops near to the crash, between the Northgate and Crown Street junctions, have been closed and police officers are moving bystanders.

A road closure is in place from St. Cuthbert's Way roundabout to Crown Street. A pedestrian cordon is also in force from Marks and Spencer to the pedestrian zone at the top of Crown Street.

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