A DRUG-driver caused chaos on a busy commuter line when he mistook the tracks for a side road and turned onto the railway track.
Dean Williamson’s Ford Fiesta got stuck on the rails and sleepers and a collision with anoncoming freight train was only avoided because a sharp-eyed signalman spottedthe danger.
The line between Waterloo and Reading was closed for several hours and 96 trains cancelled at a cost of £90,000 while the car was removed from the level crossing at Egham,Surrey.
Williamson managed to drive six metres, about 20 feet, onto the line but then panicked and did nothing to alert the emergency services, Exeter Crown Court was told.
He had taken cocaine the day before and the level of metabolites in his blood was still high enough to affect his judgment when he drove onto the line at the Pooley Green crossingat 10 pm on February 5 last year.
Williamson, aged 37, of Pavilions Close, Brixham, admitted obstructing a railway, driving with more than the permitted level of cocaine in his system and careless driving and wasbanned from driving for a year and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid communitywork.
Recorder Mr Mathew Turner told him: ‘The offence of obstructing an engine on a railway is notcommon because it is not common for people to drive in the way that you didwhen you were above the limit for a controlled drug.
‘Thankfully, your car was seen by a signal controller and trains were halted. A freight train hadbeen due to pass in one direction and a passenger train in the other but neither were in the immediate area.
‘You failed to take any steps to notify the authorities of the danger you had created and youcaused some damage to the rails.’
Miss Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said 96 trains were disrupted and the cost of removing the car and repairing the rails was almost £90,000.
Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Williamson took a wrong turn onto the railway line andpanicked. He said he has mental health problems and was addicted to cocaine atthe time but has now got clean.