Ipswich man charged over £1m level crossing crash with freight train
An Ipswich man has been accused of endangering safety on a railway by driving in front of a train and causing more than a million pounds worth of damage.
Abdul Rostami was charged with endangering the safety of a person conveyed on the railway at Routs Level Crossing, near Nacton, last year.
The 29-year-old, of Westgate Street, gave no indication of plea to the charge during a hearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
Prosecutor David Bryant said the crash caused in excess of £1million in damage and knock-on costs.
It took place at about 8.40pm on March 14 at the manually operated crossing, located opposite the Miller and Carter restaurant in Felixstowe Road, leading to the Orwell Crossing Lorry Park.
Mr Bryant told the court that intended users must wait for a green light before pushing a button to open the gate and cross.
He said the stretch of railway was limited to 60mph and used in high frequency, day and night.
Following a heavy impact, substantial damage was caused to the vehicle and train equipment, said Mr Bryant, who invited magistrates to decline jurisdiction and send the matter to the crown court.
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Craig Marchant, representing Rostami, said he did not seek to dissuade the bench from committing the case to the higher court.
Rostami was released on unconditional bail until a hearing scheduled for September 24 at Ipswich Crown Court.
The crash led to the suspension of trains on the Felixstowe line throughout the night and the following day, as engineers from Network Rail carried out repairs.
A rail replacement bus service was operated between Ipswich and Felixstowe.
Officers from Suffolk Constabulary were called to the crossing, off Felixstowe Road, to support British Transport Police investigators.
The driver of the car was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition, with life-changing injuries, while the driver of the train escaped without injury.
A witness working in a nearby building told this newspaper they heard a bang over the screech of metal on metal.
Investigations were carried out in partnership between BTP, Network Rail, the Office of Rail and Road, and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.