Farm worker who drove onto level crossing without permission and was struck by a train in Stretham is jailed
PUBLISHED: 15:48 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 August 2017
A farm worker who drove onto a level crossing and was struck by a train in Stretham, causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Dimitar Vaclinov, 34, of Cambridge Road, Ely, was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday (July 28) after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to endangering the safety of persons on the railway.
On August 12 last year, Vaclinov drove a Land Rover Discovery onto Nairns Level Crossing, in Stretham, without contacting the railway signal box to get permission.
He was immediately struck by a passenger train travelling at 70mph.
Vaclinov’s car was thrown off the tracks and landed in a ditch to the side of the tracks several yards from the crossing.
Vaclinov, who had a broken leg at the time, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries, including a broken collar bone and fractured skull.
He was taken by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital where he remained under treatment for two weeks.
The train driver suffered from shock and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Magistrates at Vaclinov’s earlier hearing were told that it was lucky that the train – which was carrying 105 passengers – did not derail.
The crash caused £100,000 worth of damage to the train and approximately £290,000 worth of delays and cancellations.
Vaclinov, who had worked on the farm where the level crossing was for years, told police that he did know the procedure for using the level crossing.
Investigating officer, Det Sgt Alan Bardlsey, said: “This case highlights the need to comply with safety instructions whilst crossing the railway. Not only did Mr Vaclinov suffer serious life-threatening injuries in the collision but he also ended up in court facing a serious allegation.
“It was extremely lucky that no one else was injured, however the incident was extremely traumatic for the train driver and passengers.”