York & North Yorkshire

Level crossing crash driver Shane Hughes jailed

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Media captionPolice dash-cam footage shows the decommissioned ambulance smash through a level crossing

The driver of a decommissioned ambulance which smashed through a railway barrier and nearly collided with a passing train has been jailed.

Dash-cam footage from a police car showed the vehicle driven by Shane Hughes stop just inches from the train as it passed at 70mph.

Jailing Hughes, from Halifax, the judge said it was one of the worst cases of dangerous driving he had ever seen.

Hughes, 41, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to 22 months in prison.

He pleaded guilty to a number of driving offences and a charge of theft.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Shane Hughes was jailed for 22 months at Bradford Crown Court

The court heard Hughes had been pursued by police for 37 miles from the scene of a fatal crash on the A65 near Ingleton before he jumped from the vehicle as it approached the railway barrier near Kildwick, North Yorkshire, on 13 July.

Footage from a police helicopter showed the abandoned vehicle crash through the barriers and come to rest across one of the railway tracks as Hughes, who later tested positive for cannabis, ran off.

Hughes, sat with his head in his hands as the footage was played, but at one stage tried to explain that the handbrake had not worked on the ambulance.

His barrister, Stephen Wood, said he jumped from the vehicle thinking the barrier would stop it.

'Carnage'

Judge Jonathan Rose said Hughes had driven in an "utterly disgraceful and appalling manner".

"This, in my view, is certainly the worst case of dangerous driving I have seen in my career at the Bar and on the bench," he said.

Image copyright Sgt Paul Cording/@OscarRomeo1268
Image caption The decommissioned ambulance smashed through a railway barrier at Kildwick in North Yorkshire

Hughes, who committed the offences just two days after he was given a community order for another offence of driving while banned, was also banned from driving for six years and 11 months.

Traffic Constable Gemma Brett, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "On the day of these offences, Shane Hughes put numerous lives at risk and could have caused untold carnage."

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