Terrifying moment when the driver under the influence of alcohol hits a Range Rover against a speeding TRAIN at a level crossing
This is the horrific moment when a drunk driver ran his Range Rover into a speeding train, causing £345,000 worth of damage and delays to the rail network.
Railway worker Michael Rochford, 27, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after admitting he distorted justice, failed to stop after a road accident and dangerous driving.
Shocking CCTV footage captured the moment his 4×4 collided with an LNER Azuma train on June 13 at the Rossington level crossing on the East Coast Main Line near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
The train sustained damage as several passengers suffered whiplash injuries and a man in a nearby yard was narrowly hit by falling debris.
Rochford, who worked as a signaling engineer for Network Rail, had been drinking with friends at the Rossington Main Football Club before the crash, a court heard.
Witnesses waiting at the intersection described how his Range Rover Sport approached the guardrails at high speed, ran up the sidewalk and crashed into the train.
Rochford then crawled out of the vehicle and ran away, appearing unsteady and drunk, the court heard.
He called his mother for a ride, then reported to the police that the car keys had been stolen from the football club’s bar and that his car had been stolen.
The court heard that he subsequently claimed to have been told by his brother that he had been involved in an accident.
CCTV footage shows an LNER Azuma train speeding past the Rossington level crossing on the East Coast Main Line near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on June 13
A neighbor of Rochford’s mother overheard him asking relatives to “don’t tell anyone where I was.”
He changed at the property before being picked up by his girlfriend.
Police questioning him in his own home said he “appeared nervous” and checking the football club’s CCTV footage revealed that he had driven the Range Rover off the site.
After his arrest, he confessed that the car had not been stolen and that he had lied.
The court was told the collision resulted in more than 15 hours of delay on the main route from London to Edinburgh and cost the rail industry £345,000.
A passenger on the Azuma made a victim statement saying he was still in severe pain from his injuries and was reluctant to travel by train again.
And Geoffrey Shaw, who has lived in his property on the track for more than 40 years, said he was “heavily shaken” after the falling pole missed him by just 1 foot.
The court heard that Rochford’s ‘high-paying’ job gave him a ‘significant position of responsibility’.
Out of nowhere, Michael Rochford’s Range Rover collides with the train, sending a column of dust into the air
Rochford became the main supplier for his mother after his parents’ divorce, his legal team said.
The court heard that Rochford reacted as he did because of “pure panic” because he had never been in trouble with the police before.
Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, Sheffield’s recorder, said: ‘You were drinking heavily and taking leave of your senses.
‘You could have caused a major catastrophe where many people would have lost their lives. It is a very serious matter.
“I accept that you are full of remorse and I have been invited by your lawyer not to ‘crush’ you.
“Jail will be hard on you. It is a great tragedy that you are in the position you are in.”
After hitting the train, the car spins and smoke comes out from under the hood. The train sustained damage as several passengers suffered whiplash injuries and a man in a nearby yard was narrowly hit by falling debris
Rochford joined Network Rail in 2013 on a signaling internship in York before transferring to the signaling error department in Sheffield in 2016.
He had worked in the railway industry since leaving Hayfield School in Doncaster in 2011, when he was an apprentice at a private sector engineering firm.
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast route, said: ‘This was a shocking incident which could have caused serious injuries to passengers and railway workers.
“Luckily this was not the case, but this incident is a stark reminder of the importance of respecting railways and using level crossings safely.”
Rochford was also given a four-year driving ban by Sheffield Crown Court.
Traffic officer Martyn Micklethwaite, of South Yorkshire Police, said: ‘This case highlights the consequences of speeding.
“This collision could have had catastrophic consequences.
“The Sheffield Crown Court verdict shows how seriously these offenses have been taken, resulting in a hefty prison sentence and a driving ban that puts him off the road for four years.
“Our investigation showed how far Rochford went in the lies he told the police that night, which led to his being charged with perverting the course of justice.”