A man who drove his car onto train tracks and was hit by a passenger train has been sentenced to 68 months in prison.
Jonathon Geoffrey Mather pleaded guilty to obstructing the railway, after his car was struck by a train in Burton-on-Trent on July 20, 2015.
The 36-year-old of Pearl Close, Oakwood, Derby, was struck at 70mph by an oncoming passenger train, and has been sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today (Friday, 8 April).
Footage of the crash has been released by British Transport Police and the court heard how Mather had driven his car, a Vauxhall Insignia, onto the railway line at Clay Mills Crossing then drove a further 220 metres down the track before abandoning his car straddling the rails and running off.
A short while later a passenger service travelling between Derby and Burton on Trent, which had 40 people on board, came along the same stretch of track.
British Transport Police said: "The train was travelling at 100mph but luckily the driver spotted the car and managed to hit the emergency brakes at the last minute, resulting in the train hitting the vehicle at 70mph.
"Luckily no-one on board the train was injured but the incident resulted in over £650,000 in costs to the rail industry in delays, compensation and damage to the tracks and train."
Detective Sergeant Shanie Erwin of BTP said: “When officers and other emergency service colleagues arrived at the scene the area was searched and Mather was discovered hiding in a bush nearby.
“Mather claimed to have had an episode of memory loss as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however he was fully assessed by an independent mental health team and deemed fit to be interviewed by police and prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
“I cannot emphasise the seriousness of his actions. The train could have easily derailed after striking his vehicle at such a speed, and everyone on board could have been seriously injured or killed.
“The sentence handed down to Mr Mather today sends a strong message that obstructing the railway, and risking peoples lives in this way is taken extremely seriously by the courts and BTP.”
Emrys Warriner, head of route safety health and environment at Network Rail, said: “This is a frightening episode which demonstrates exactly how dangerous level crossing misuse could be. That there were no serious injuries is fortunate in the extreme and the outcome of this reckless act could have been entirely different. The cost of this incident to the railway is also significant and I am pleased that the court has treated this incident with such severity.”