Policeman killed in horror crash on A19
THE driver killed in an horrific pile-up on a major North East road was named last night as a serving police officer.
Neil Gartland, 38, was killed in a 31-vehicle series of collisions in thick fog on the A19 in County Durham late on Friday night.
PC Gartland, who was from the Sunderland area, had served with Northumbria Police for eight years. He was a frontline officer in South Tyneside.
Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett, of the South Tyneside area command, said: “Neil was an outstanding police officer and totally dedicated to serving the public, so much so he recently fought his way back from injury to continue working as a frontline cop.
“Neil was immensely popular with all of his colleagues, both in South Tyneside, and throughout the force. Everyone who knew Neil will miss him greatly.
“My heartfelt sympathies and those of all the staff at South Tyneside area command lie with Neil’s wife and family.”
Police are still investigating the series of smashes which claimed Mr Gartland’s life. The collisions involved two tankers and two 38-tonne HGVs. At least 10 other motorists and passengers suffered injuries.
A 47-year-old man suffered stomach and shoulder injuries, while a 50-year-old had head injuries.
Firefighters described a scene of “absolute devastation” after the three accidents on a section of the dual carriageway near Peterlee.
In the first, most serious accident – in which Mr Gartland was killed – two petrol tankers, two HGVs and a car crashed on the southbound carriageway at 10.15pm.
It is understood a Renault car was crushed between two petrol tankers as the three vehicles travelled in a line.