A MAN was airlifted to hospital with a life-threatening head injury after being hit by a suspected drug driver.

The 20-year-old, from Westcliff, was struck by a blue BMW as he walked along Bournes Green Chase, Thorpe Bay, on Sunday afternoon.

He was taken by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, where he is said to be in a critical but stable condition.

The driver of the BMW, a 45-year-old man, was arrested.

Emergency services raced to the scene, close to DW Fitness, at about 4pm.

Eyewitness Aaron Chesham, 19, from Southend, said: “I didn’t see the crash but I saw the aftermath.

“There were about three police cars blocking the road along with all the ambulance crews and the blue BMW which was still on scene.

“The man who had been hit looked in a bad way. He had the heart rate machine going, breathing mask on and they had put some inflatable piece of equipment underneath him.

“Then they loaded him into the air ambulance and it took off for a hospital in London I think. I hope he pulls through.”

A spokesman for the ambulance service, which sent an ambulance crew, ambulance officer and rapid response vehicle to the scene, said: “A man, believed to be in his early twenties, was treated for a serious head injury and was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital for further care in a serious condition.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Police were called at 4.10pm on Sunday with reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and a BMW in Bournes Green Chase.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old man from Westcliff, was taken to hospital by air ambulance with a life threatening head injury. He is currently in a critical but stable condition.

“A 45-year-old man from Shoebury was arrested on suspicion of driving while unfit through drink or drugs and drug driving. He has been reported for process.”