Stolen car smashes through level crossing
A RECKLESS criminal crashed through gates at a level crossing in a desperate bid to escape police during a high speed chase.
The driver of a stolen Mercedes Benz put hundreds of lives at risk when they ignored the barrier’s warning signal of an approaching train at the Kings Dyke railway crossing on the A605 near whittlesey at 2.45pm yesterday.
Eyewitness reports suggest that the train was just nine seconds away as the stolen car crashed through the barriers.
Shocked passengers on the Cross Country train felt a jolt as the train collided with debris left across the track .
The red Mercedes, which had been taken from a house in March that morning, was later found abandoned in Woolpack Lane, Whittlesey, and police were last night trying to track down the driver.
Despite colliding with the damaged gate, the train continued on to Peterborough train station where engineers confirmed that it was fit to continue the journey to Birmingham.
Passenger Ben Truslove, who boarded the train at Peterborough, said: “After we got on to the train we were told that there was a delay because of an accident on the Whittlesey crossing. We were told that they were checking to see if the driver and the train were fit to continue, and that it was thought that the train had clipped the rear end of a police car.”
It was later found that no car had hit the train and officials performed safety checks and assessed that the driver was in a fit state to continue the journey – a Cross Country service from Stansted airport.
The dramatic incident put hundreds of lives at risk. Ashin Kumar, rail director for transport watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “The reckless behaviour of these criminals not only put their own lives at risk but also the lives of hundreds of passengers on the train. We hope they are apprehended quickly.”
The stolen car was spotted by police officers after it drove past an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera in Whittlesey.
A police spokesman said: “Police were in pursuit of the car when it came to the barrier.
“Although there was a train head- ing for the crossing at the time the driver broke through the gate.
“This meant the police car was unable to safely cross over until the train had safely passed.
“By that time the stolen car had driven away, but it has since been recovered in Whittlesey.
“It had been abandoned on Woolpack Lane and no arrests have been made.”
Anybody with any information should contact Cambridgeshire Police on 0345 456 4564 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
CRASH: The scene at the damaged level crossing. (METP-20-06-10PF511)