Driver arrested as elderly pedestrian killed in North East bus crash

The bus crash in Darlington. Picture: Press Association.

The bus crash in Darlington. Picture: Press Association.

An elderly woman has died after a bus crashed into a bank - and the driver has been arrested.

The vehicle, an Arriva bus, left the road in Northgate, Darlington, and hit a Halifax bank in the town centre earlier today.

Durham Police confirmed that an elderly female pedestrian died and that two pedestrians who were injured have been taken to hospital.

Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

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

Chief Inspector Graham Milne, said: "Obviously this is a tragic incident and I would like to extend my condolences to the deceased's family.

Picture by Press Association.

Picture by Press Association.

"I would also ask anyone who was in the area at the time and witnessed the collision to contact us on 101."

The road closure is still in place from St. Cuthbert's Way roundabout to Crown Street and a pedestrian cordon from M&S to the pedestrian zone at the top of Crown Street. Diversions are in place for some time.

Emergency services are still at the scene and would like to extend their thanks to the local businesses in the Northgate area for their cooperation during the incident.

A spokeswoman for North East Ambulance Service said there were three casualties, one of whom was seriously hurt.

The driver has been arrested. Picture: Press Association.

The driver has been arrested. Picture: Press Association.

She said: "We have sent the air ambulance, three double-crewed ambulances, hazardous area rapid response team and an officer. We have reports of three injuries, one serious. Two patients have left for hospital."

Pictures posted on Facebook showed a fire engine and an ambulance at the scene, which was cordoned off by police tape.

The photographs showed a screen between the bus and the bank as passers-by looked on.

John Dodsworth, who arrived at the scene just after the crash, said: "It's all gone crazy in town.

"Someone said a lady was under the bus, that's why the cover is round the side of the bus."

A witness at the scene told the Northern Echo: "The number 2 bus was parked up on the side of the road and pulled out before going straight into the bank.

"It was absolutely shocking, I'm still shaking now.

"I don't know if anyone in the bank was hurt; most of them were out and were taken into Boots."

A spokeswoman for bus company Arriva confirmed that one of its vehicles was involved in the incident while serving the number 2 route.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said the incident was ongoing and crews were still at the scene.

The fire service reported receiving a call just after 10.50am to reports that an Arriva bus had crashed into the Halifax branch.

The spokeswoman said: "We received a call at 10.52 to our control room. It was a report that an Arriva 50-seater bus had gone into the front of a Halifax on Northgate in Darlington.

"We deployed four fire appliances - two from Darlington station, one from Newton Aycliffe and one from Bishop Auckland. We sent a special rescue unit which is for a certain level of incident which supports our crews. The air ambulance is in attendance."

She could not confirm if the injured were pedestrians or had been travelling on the bus.

Arriva issued a statement which read: "We can confirm that an Arriva bus (Service 2 from Branksome to Red Hall) has been involved in an accident today in Northgate, Darlington.

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

"Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. 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."