Motorist jailed for level crossing collision

08/04/2016

A driver from Derby who pleaded guilty to abandoning his car near a level crossing in Stretton, which resulted in a commuter train colliding with it, has today been sentenced at Stafford Crown Court to 68 months imprisonment.

On 20 July 2015, Jonathon Mather, 36, had deliberately driven his Vauxhall Insignia car onto the railway lines - 220 meters from the Clay Mills Crossing, Stretton, Burton-on-Trent.

The defendant then abandoned the car and fled the scene.

At 19:19, a passenger train, which was travelling from Derby to Burton-on-Trent, struck the abandoned car at 70mph.

The emergency services were immediately called to the scene and although none of the 40 passengers required hospital treatment, medical attention was provided to them.

British Transport Police were able to identify the driver of the vehicle through documentations which were found inside of the car. A few hours later, Mather was found hiding nearby.

The collision caused delays and cancelations to trains as well as damage to the infrastructure and the train - the estimated cost of all this was calculated approximately 500,000.

The defendant was later charged with and today found guilty of obstruction of a railway line with intent and obstruction of a railway line with intent to endanger a person.

David Parsons, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service said:

"Jonathon Mather's irresponsible actions not only put his own life in danger but that of the passengers and crew who were on the train when it collided with his car which he had deliberately driven onto the railway tracks and abandoned. 

"Initially the train was travelling at 100mph, but due to good visibility and the actions of the driver, the emergency brakes were immediately applied as soon as the car came into view which resulted in the training slowing down before the impact.

"Although there was extensive damage to the train, thankfully there were no injuries to the passengers or the crew."