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Banned: Driver causing £34,000 of disruption and damage crashing into Shropshire level crossing

By Dominic Robertson | Craven Arms | Crime | Published:

A woman who crashed into a major Shropshire railway crossing and fled the scene, costing more than £34,000 in damage and disruption, has been banned from driving.

An image showing the moment the vehicle crashes into the barrier

Lauren Lewis, 22, of Whitemeadow Close, Craven Arms, was travelling on the A49 towards Ludlow at around 1am on October 10 last year when she crashed into the Onibury Level Crossing barrier.

British Transport Police said the incident cost Network Rail more than £34,000 in disruption and damage to the crossing.

The crash also caused more than 400 minutes of delays to train services.

Lewis fled the scene on foot, abandoning the vehicle on the crossing, and failed to report the incident to the British Transport Police until 10 hours later.

Earlier this month, Lewis was sentenced at Welshpool Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to charges of driving without due care and attention, and failing to stop after a road traffic accident.

She was disqualified from driving for six months, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, and pay a fine £230. She must also pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £90.

Onibury Level Crossing

British Transport Police Sergeant Emma Harper said that if the incident had been reported when it happened then it is possible the prosecution would never have taken place.

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She warned that any such actions would not be tolerated.

She said: “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.”

Following the case, Network Rail operations risk advisor Christine Booth issued a general warning about the use of the level crossing.

She 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.”

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