Van driver jailed after Wales crossing crash

14 October 2013

Following a collision between a train and a van on a level crossing near Carno on the Shrewsbury to Machynlleth line in Powys on 16 February, a van driver has been jailed for five months while the train driver’s action have been praised by the judge at Mold Crown Court.

The van driver, Daniel Bellis who is 35 and from Oswestry, admitted endangering the safety of people on the railway. He failed to call ahead to check if the line was clear.

Mick Whelan says that it is heartening that the legal system appears to be clamping down on irresponsible actions by car drivers at crossings and hopes this case will be a warning to others, but he added, ‘While it is encouraging to hear Driver Gareth Owen praised for his professionalism in bringing the train to a stop without a derailment, the incident should never have happened.

‘Our members should never have to be faced with this sort of incident. The irresponsibility of people taking risks at crossings, despite all the evidence and warnings, is utterly unbelievable. As the judge says, Driver Owen was ‘stoic’ but he should never have been put in the position where he needed to be.

‘Mr Bellis was familiar with the crossing, had used other similar ones and knew the regulations. He simply decided to ignore them. The worse thing is that this happens somewhere on the network every day.

‘Hopefully prison sentences will knock a bit of sense into car and van drivers.’

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