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Three die after tragic A1 crash involving several vehicles in County Durham
16 July 2021, 14:39 | Updated: 16 July 2021, 18:44
Three people have died after a crash involving multiple vehicles on the A1 that resulted in a lorry fire and several injuries.
Durham Constabulary said a man driving a Toyota and a man and a woman in a Vauxhall died following the incident, which took place on Thursday evening near Bowburn in County Durham.
A lorry caught fire in the fatal crash on the northbound side of the carriageway, which has injured several other people. Two were taken to hospital.
Four cars and two lorries were involved in total and the 41-year-old driver of one of the lorries has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in police custody.
The officer leading the investigation warned that due to the complexity of the scene the road would remain closed for some time while evidence is gathered and the vehicles are removed.
Superintendent David Coxon told LBC: "I've been in policing for 28 years and it's really difficult to come to terms with any loss of life at any point.
"I can only imagine the trauma and the suffering that the family and friends are going through at this time."
Detective Superintendent Dave Ashton also asked those who may have photos or videos of the crash not to share them online.
However, police have asked anyone who may have material relevant to the investigation to upload it to a portal set up by Durham Police.
DS Ashton said: "This was a harrowing incident for everyone involved and our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their loved ones.
"It has been incredibly upsetting and distressing for those who witnessed the collision, and for the emergency responders, including police officers, firefighters and paramedics, who attended the scene.
"We would therefore ask that people refrain from sharing photographs and videos from the collision out of dignity and respect for those who have lost their lives."
Update following serious collision on A1(M):— Durham Constabulary (@DurhamPolice) July 15, 2021
The incident happened at 6.20pm on the northbound carriageway at Bowburn.
It involved several vehicles, including two lorries, one of which caught fire as a result of the collision.
Sadly, there appear to have been fatalities. pic.twitter.com/0ntNN7VJiZ
He continued: "This will be an extremely complex and lengthy investigation as the site of the collision is spread over some distance, and many of the vehicles involved have been severely damaged.
"The road will remain closed for the rest of the day to allow for specialist collision investigators to work at the scene and to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.
"The road will also need to be assessed for damage prior to reopening to ensure the safety of future road users. Therefore, motorists should avoid the area and plan ahead if they need to travel.
"We understand the significant disruption that this incident has caused, and would like to thank people for their patience, understanding and cooperation while we work at the scene."
Highways England tweeted that the road would remain closed northbound from J60 to J61 and southbound from J62 to J60.
A1M remains closed in both directions:-— Highways England (@HighwaysNEAST) July 16, 2021
north is closed J60 to J61 - south is closed J62 to J60
The road will remain closed throughout the day whilst the police continue investigation work. We do not have a time for opening. Please plan your journey.#CountyDurham #Durham #A1 pic.twitter.com/6GQmH9M7Oq