A man arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after a much-loved dad-of-two was killed in a hit-and-run horror crash has been bailed by police.
Gavin Bolam was walking home from a night out with friends when he was struck by a car, which then drove off.
The tragedy happened at 12.15am on Saturday in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, near Burn Terrace and Mill Crescent.
The 56-year-old print worker, who had lived in Hebburn for about 20 years after growing up in the Pelaw area of Gateshead, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The family of the father-of-two have told of their heartache at losing someone who was “simply the best”.
His devastated family say they are still trying to come to terms with the news that they will never see Mr Bolam, who had two daughters, again.
In a statement his relatives said: “We as a family have no idea how to begin to deal with the loss which we now face.
“Gavin was a fabulous man who was loved by so many and whose kindness and compassion touched the lives of so many people.
“Our only comfort at this tragic time comes from the overwhelming support of friends, those who knew him and those touched by these events.”
The statement added: “We are still trying to come to terms with it all. We really can’t thank people enough for all the kind messages we have received. They are really helping us.
“We would ask that we are given time to grieve in private the loss of a man who was ‘simply the best’.”
The family also thanked those who had come forward with information about the tragedy.
They added: “Gavin was so well liked and well-loved. We would also like to thank The Wardley pub, in Bill Quay, for their kind message. He was well known there, so their message was really appreciated.
A 39-year-old man arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving has been bailed pending further inquiries.
Police are keen to identify a number of pedestrians who were in Station Road, Hebburn, at around 12.25am.
They also want to speak to anyone who saw a silver Mercedes with extensive damage being driven towards or away from Hebburn Riverside Park between 12.15am and 12.30am.
Witnesses are asked to call police on 101 quoting reference 31 090416.