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Shropshire woman guilty of damaging level crossing barriers

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A woman who crashed her car into barriers at Onibury level crossing in Shropshire, and then fled the scene on foot having abandoned her car, has been sentenced at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court.

Lauren Lewis, 22, of Craven Arms, was driving along the A49 towards Ludlow when, at around 01:00 on 10 October 2019, she crashed into the level crossing barrier. She left her car and ran off, not reporting the incident to police until 10 hours later.

The incident was caught on CCTV cameras. It caused over 400 minutes of delays to train services and cost Network Rail over £34,000 in disruption and damages to the crossing.

At court on Tuesday 17 March 2020, she pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and failure to stop after a road traffic accident. She was disqualified from driving for six months, ordered to pay a fine of over £400 and to complete 100 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.

Christine Booth, Network Rail.

Christine Booth, Network Rail operations risk advisor, said: “Onibury Level Crossing has seen an unprecedented increase in vehicles running the red lights and crossing when the barriers are lowering, putting themselves, passengers, train crew and adjacent residents in extreme danger.

“Speed is a main factor in this misuse, with vehicles travelling too fast to stop when the lights show. I urge everyone to take more care, be aware of your surroundings and keep to the speed limit.”

For the British Transport Police, Sergeant Emma Harper added: “Had Lewis reported the incident at the time, we could’ve dealt with it, avoided such significant disruption and possibly even prosecution.

“We will not tolerate this type of behaviour on the railway and continue to work closely with Network Rail to educate and, where necessary, take action.”

CCTV recording of Lauren Lewis crashing into barriers.

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