Ford Transit man's death-defying escape along Wakefield railway tracks was 'worst' judge had ever seen

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A desperate van driver who turned onto railway tracks to flee police was told by a judge that it was the "worst piece of driving he had ever seen" that did not result in serious injury or death.

Idiotic Jamie Brown failed to shake his police tail during a chase through Wakefield, so in a last-ditch effort made the death-defying move to drive along the railway lines from a village level crossing.

The 31-year-old has a long list of convictions for driving while banned and was jailed at Leeds Crown Court this week after admitting a further count, as well as dangerous driving.

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Judge Ray Singh was dumbfounded by the chase footage which was played to the court. He said: "You have repeatedly driven over the years while disqualified.

"I was keen for the footage to be played. It's the worst piece of driving that I have ever seen without a physical collision or injury being caused. This is not down to your skills as a driver, but down to extremely good luck and fortune.

Brown turned onto the railway tracks at Streethouse from a level crossing. (pic by Google Maps)Brown turned onto the railway tracks at Streethouse from a level crossing. (pic by Google Maps)
Brown turned onto the railway tracks at Streethouse from a level crossing. (pic by Google Maps) | Google Maps

"In a final act of desperation, and perhaps one of the most serious manoeuvres anybody could undertake, you decided to turn onto the railway line. It's not hard to imagine the catastrophic after-effect if a rail carriage had been travelling along there at that time. Yet you had no regard for anybody, you were just trying to save your own neck."

Prosecutor Robert Galley said that police had tried to pull over the Ford Transit van that Brown was driving on February 28 because he was not wearing a seatbelt and they suspected he was on his phone.

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But he took off at speed, running red lights, and risking dangerous overtaking moves. At one point he tried to overtake seven vehicles at once. He reached speeds of 50mph and then 70mph in 30mph built-up areas.

But he then shocked the pursuing police when turned onto the rail tacks at the level crossing in Streethouse, driving on for around 100 metres.

He eventually got out and tried to flee on foot. He was arrested and gave a no-comment interview. Mr Galley said as a result of his rail track infringement, it led to train services being delayed by almost 40 minutes.

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The court was told that Brown, of The Green, Castleford, received a nine-month suspended jail sentence last year for driving while banned and handling stolen goods. But following his recent arrest, he was returned to court where nine weeks of the suspended sentence were activated.

He has 13 previous convictions for 30 offences, many for driving while banned. Mitigating, Stephen Swan said of his custody: "He will have time to reflect on his behaviour and how fortunate he was there was no harm or damage due to his escapade."

Judge Singh lamented his restricted sentencing powers for dangerous driving, telling Brown that it "should be greater in cases particularly like yours".

He jailed him for 12 months and banned him from driving for 66 months, but said that he was "confident as he could be" that it will not deter Brown once he leaves prison and he will be "back behind the wheel" as soon as he is released.

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He added: "The only respite I can give is to lock you up so for that period of time you will be unable to drive. You are not going to learn your lesson. One day you are going to hurt yourself, or somebody else, or kill them."