Drink driver’s car stuck on track as train approached

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A 58-YEAR-OLD motorist with a drink problem wedged his car just 100 metres from an approaching train at a Wainfleet railway crossing, magistrates heard.

Peter Arnold of Oaston Road, Nuneaton, pleaded guilty to driving while over the limit and obstructing an engine using the railway by an unlawful act, when he appeared at Skegness Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday.

Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, said that on January 30 several members of the public called the police alerting them to a car on the A52 railway crossing.

Arnold also called the police, telling them he had become stuck attempting to make a three point turn and an approaching train was ‘not more than 100 metres away’.

Fortunately the train stopped before colliding with Arnold’s Ford Escort and firefighters were able to winch it from the tracks.

Arnold was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and a test revealed his blood alcohol was 0.132 - more than one and a half times over the legal limit of 0.08.

Ian Benton, defending, explained that Arnold had been visiting his cousin in Wainfleet and suffered from ‘serious medical problems’.

He was travelling from his cousin’s to Skegness Hospital for dialysis treatment which he requires three times a week when he realised he had left some of his medicine behind.

With nightfall falling, unaware he was on a level crossing, Arnold attempted to turn back to retrieve his medicine when he became stuck.

Mr Benton said: “I would argue that this is careless negligence rather than a deliberate act of recklessness.

“I fully appreciate the potentially serious consequences of what he did but mercifully the train was stopped.”

In mitigation Mr Benton also told magistrates that Arnold accepted he had a drink problem and was already seeking professional advice to treat it.

For the drink-driving offence magistrates disqualified Arnold from driving for 15 months and fined him £100. For obstructing the railway he received an additional £150 fine and was made to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.