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Terror as driver jumps rail lights
A father-of-three has been banned from driving for 18 months after he tried to run a red light and got his vehicle trapped between barriers at a level crossing, sparking scenes of “panic” as a train approached.
Elderly people and children were among up to six people who got out of the vehicle when it got stuck on the crossing at Cross Hills, with the automated barriers down.
On Friday, Jawad Hassan, who has three young children, was sentenced for driving dangerously at the busy crossing on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
Bradford Crown Court heard how a family outing to visit relatives turned to “chaos” when Hassan, 32, of Lister View, Manningham, Bradford, tried to run the red flashing lights at 2.14pm in his full people carrier.
CCTV footage showing children and elderly people fleeing from the Seat Alhambra and Hassan smashing the vehicle through the barriers to safety were shown in court and can be seen here.
We have obscured the faces of passengers and those who tried to help to avoid identifying them.
Prosecutor Howard Shaw said motorist Stuart Shackleton, who had stopped at the crossing, helped Hassan’s elderly passengers to safety. It cost £2,195 to repair the barriers.
Hassan told the police: “I did not mean to cross the barriers. I knew it was wrong. It just happened.”
His barrister, Khadim Al’Hassan, said he was of previous good character, without even a speeding ticket.
His wife was in poor health and one of their children was disabled.
“It was silly and foolish but not deliberate,” Mr Al’Hassan said.
The judge, Recorder Michael Smith, sentenced Hassan to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 150 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from driving for 18 months and must take an extended retest before he can legally drive again.
Recorder Smith said: “It seems clear to me that to save a minute or two of waiting you decided to jump the lights and the barriers.
“The consequences could have been horrific had a train come along and hit the vehicle.
“There are regular advertisements on television warning of the dangers of trying to beat the lights at level crossings.
“Sadly, a number of people die in such accidents.”
The judge said he could be merciful because Hassan handed himself in to police and had shown remorse.
After the case, a British Transport Police spokesman said: “Incredibly, some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring warning lights and sirens and trying to dash through crossings when trains are approaching”