Teenager detained after rail crash
A TEENAGER who drove a van across a Suffolk railway line and caused a train driver to fear for his life, has been jailed.Frank Grinham, 18, was sent to a young offenders institute for 18 months by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth at Ipswich Crown Court.
A TEENAGER who drove a van across a Suffolk railway line and caused a train driver to fear for his life, has been jailed.
Frank Grinham, 18, was sent to a young offenders institute for 18 months by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth at Ipswich Crown Court.
The youth, who has a long criminal record for taking vehicles without consent and driving while disqualified, was told he would only spend half his sentence in custody.
The court heard that on August 29 Alan Dewhurst had been driving a non-passenger London to Norwich diesel train through Baylham when he saw a white transit van parked across the level crossing just a quarter of a mile in front of him.
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Peter Gair, prosecuting, said: "He saw it edging forward across the line, he sounded the horn and started to brake. He could see the van come onto the track where it would collide with the train. He applied the emergency horn and brakes.
"Fearing for his life he rushed out of the cabin into the vestibule but couldn't get further so he braced himself for the impact which happened about six seconds later."
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Mr Gair said Mr Dewhurst suffered whiplash and stress and has sought counselling to overcome the mental scars caused by the collision.
The train and the van were extensively damaged.
The court heard that Grinham fled from the van and ran back to Moat Farm where he had been working as a labourer.
Police arrested Grinham, of Onslow Gardens, Sanderstead, Surrey, a short while later.
Grinham pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, fraudulent use of a tax disc, endangering the train driver's life, failing to stop after the accident and to driving while disqualified.
Richard Kelly, mitigating, said Grinham had acted "stupidly and impulsively".
Dc Alan Reed of the British Transport Police today said: "This was a very dangerous piece of driving which could have resulted in a catastrophe.
"The driver in question suffered severe shock and distress from the actions of this individual."