THREE men were taken to hospital following a rush-hour car crash.

Emergency services were called to reports of a collision involving a Renault Scenic and Volkswagen Passat on Lower Eccleshill Road, Darwen, shortly before 8am.

The three, two drivers and a passenger, were treated at the scene for suspected neck and back injuries. All were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The vehicles were heavily damaged in the smash. It is thought bystanders rushed to help the injured.

Drivers faced major delays after police closed Goose House Lane, next to Lower Eccleshill Road, from 8am to 9.30am.

Some motorists abandoned their cars and walked to work while others, travelling from Darwen to Blackburn, were delayed by more than an hour because of the traffic jam.

One man, who works at Darwen Motors on Lower Eccleshill Road, said: “It usually takes me 10 minutes to drive from Higher Croft to work.

“I got down to the bottom of Lower Eccleshill Road and I had to turn around and spend an extra 45 minutes going through Darwen town centre. It was a nightmare.”

Ali Haider, who lives in Blackburn and works on the industrial estate, said: “I had to abandon my car on Blackburn Road and walk in to work.

Fortunately a colleague later dropped me off on Blackburn Road so I could pick up my car.

“I’m glad no-one was hurt but it’s frustrating because it had an impact on my working day.”

Ahmed Patel, who lives in Darwen, said: “It was one of hell of a shock when I drove in to work. It was a really bad mess. Thankfully the injuries didn’t look too serious.”

The road, which had been blocked by fire crews and police officers, reopened two hours after the incident. 

An ambulance spokesman said: “We received a call at 7.56am to a road traffic collision involving two vehicles.

“A few officers are at the scene. Three men have been taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital.”

A fire and rescue service spokesman said: “Three people were treated at the scene by the ambulance. We were there for precautionary purposes and assisted the ambulance service in casualty removal.”

A police spokesman added: “We received a call from the fire service at around 8am. Three casualties were assessed by the ambulance. Nothing too serious in terms of injuries.”