Driver jailed after train hit empty car at Burton upon Trent

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Media captionMan jailed after train hit car on level crossing near Burton upon Trent

A man who drove his car on to railway tracks before a train carrying 40 people hit it at 70mph has been jailed.

Jonathan Geoffrey Mather, 36, was jailed for five years and eight months after he admitted obstructing the railway, Stafford Crown Court heard.

The CrossCountry train struck the car at Clay Mills near Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, just before 19:30 BST on 20 July 2015.

Mather was found hiding in bushes and no passengers were hurt, said police.

More on the crash and Stoke & Staffordshire news

Image copyright British Transport Police
Image caption The driver of the car was found hiding in bushes nearby, said police.

Mather, of Pearl Close, Oakwood, Derby, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to endangering the safety of rail passengers by obstructing the railway.

He also admitted breaching a suspended sentence.

Police said he drove his Vauxhall Insignia 220 metres down the track from Clay Mills Crossing before leaving it straddling the rails.

Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption Mather claimed memory loss but was found to be fit to be prosecuted, said police.

The crash cost the railway industry £650,000 in delays, compensation and damage to the tracks and train.

Det Sgt Shanie Erwin, of British Transport Police (BTP), said: "Mather claimed to have had an episode of memory loss as a result of post traumatic stress disorder.

"However he was fully assessed by an independent mental health team and deemed fit to be interviewed by police and prosecuted."

Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption No-one on the train was hurt

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