Driver admits causing train crash

LORRY driver Michael Read faces the possibility of prison after admitting causing a train crash at Blaxhall which left 11 people injured.The Ipswich to Lowestoft train was derailed because the 44-year-old left his vehicle parked on a Suffolk level-crossing.

LORRY driver Michael Read faces the possibility of prison after admitting causing a train crash at Blaxhall which left 11 people injured.

The Ipswich to Lowestoft train was derailed because the 44-year-old left his vehicle parked on a Suffolk level-crossing.

Read, of The Street, Hacheston, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

The court heard that Read left his lorry on an unmanned level crossing in Blue Lane at Blaxhall on April 15 last year.

Read of previous good character is due to be sentenced during the week commencing February 3, after a pre-sentence report has been prepared.

Judge John Holt said: "All the Court's sentencing options remained open." Read handed his driving licence into the court so the inevitable driving disqualification could begin straight away.

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He was released on unconditional bail until next month.

Read had been heading away from Blaxhall Hall Farm with a load of crop insulation fleece when his vehicle was in collision with a mid-morning train travelling from Lowestoft to Ipswich.

The trailer of his vehicle was left a crumpled mess by the impact, and rolls of fleece were left strewn around the level crossing where the crash occurred.

One set of the train's wheels left the track but the carriage remained upright. As a result injuries among the 56 passengers on board were kept to a minimum.

Eight passengers were taken to Ipswich Hospital. Another three including the train driver and conductor were taken to James Paget Hospital at Gorleston. None of the injuries were life threatening.

The charge of dangerous driving - which holds a maximum sentence of two years in jail and a heavy fine -was formally laid against him at the first hearing in September 2002.

The prosecution followed a lengthy investigation by the British Transport Police in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.

It is believed compensation claims by those companies and individuals affected by the crash totalled a seven-figure sum and are likely to rise still further.

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