A TEENAGER has died and another is in a critical condition after a two car crash following a police pursuit in the early hours of the morning.

The incident happened at about 12.50am yesterday in Southsea Avenue, Leigh, at the junction with Glendale Gardens.

Another teen has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

A fourth was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis.

A police car had been pursuing a Ford Escort involved in the crash just prior to the incident, which has been referred by Essex Police to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The Ford failed to stop for officers, crashed into a BMW and then hit a wall. One of the teens, aged 17, died at the scene while another, also 17, was taken to Southend Hospital with a serious head injury.

Two other teenagers suffered minor injuries and were arrested.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “A maroon Ford Escort was in collision with a silver BMW.

“The teenager sadly died at the scene. Another teenager suffered life threatening injuries. He was taken to hospital.

“Another two teenagers suffered minor injuries. They have been arrested and are currently in custody.

“One is from the Southend area who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, and the other is from Shoebury who was arrested on suspicion of possession of a class C drug.

“The road has been closed whilst investigations are carried out.

“The incident has been referred to the IPCC which has launched an independent investigation as the car was being followed by a marked Essex Police vehicle.”

A spokesman for the IPCC would not confirm whether all of the teenagers were travelling together in the Ford or whether the BMW was stationary at the time of the crash.

He said: "The IPCC has begun an investigation into a fatal road traffic accident that occurred in Leigh at around 1am on Tuesday morning.

"A maroon Escort being driven by a teenage boy failed to stop for an Essex police vehicle and subsequently collided with a silver BMW and a wall.

"A 17 year-old boy from the Escort died at the scene and second 17-year-old boy from the same vehicle has been taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.

"IPCC investigators have been deployed to the scene to oversee evidence collection and to a local police station where the officers are participating in a post incident procedure.”