The devastated family and fiancée of the man who died in a fatal collision on the A19 last week are appealing for witnesses and people with any dashcam footage to come forward.
Emergency services attended the scene after a black Volkswagen had been involved in a collision with a man who had got out of his car after stopping in a lay-by at the side of the road on the A19 southbound, between Seaton Burn and Moor Farm roundabout.
Nigel Yue Bun Li, who lived in Ponteland with fiancée Kirsty Dane, was on the main carriageway at the time of the collision – about 7.40am on January 3 – and inquiries are ongoing to establish how he came to be on the road.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The 32-year-old, who worked for a fibreglass company in Wallsend as a finisher, had been driving a silver Volkswagen Golf before pulling into the lay-by.
Northumbria Police said it is understood that a short time before the collision, he had been involved in a disagreement with the driver of a white Ford Transit van.
Both vehicles had pulled into the lay-by when the disagreement took place after what police say was a very minor collision.
The van driver was later arrested by officers on suspicion of manslaughter. He has since been released under investigation.
In making an appeal for people to come forward, Kirsty, 30, said they “feel that we can’t 100 per cent grieve at the moment” whilst they still have so many unanswered questions.
She and Nigel, who had a passion for cars, met on the same course at Gateshead College and were together for just over five years.
They got engaged last year and were due to be married in Orlando, Florida, on September 5 this year, with a reception back in the UK for those who could not attend the wedding.
Kirsty added: “He was a really kind, funny and heart-warming person and everyone who met Nigel only had good things to say about him.
“Nothing in life was taken too seriously, he always had a smile on his face.
“He was just Nigel. It’s so hard to explain if you don’t know him, but I can guarantee if you did he would just put an imprint in your mind.”
One of Nigel’s sisters, 33-year-old Rachel Li, spoke of her happy memories of her brother on a recent family holiday, visiting relatives in Hong Kong.
Superintendent Simon Hall said: “There was an awful lot of traffic around at the time of the collision and whilst we’ve had a great response from the public so far, we’re hoping that more people will come forward to help us establish exactly what has happened.”
Anyone who can helping the investigating officers is asked to call Northumbria Police on 101, quoting reference 507 03/01/19.