A 28-year-old Melton man appeared in court this morning (Thursday) to admit crashing his car into a level crossing while over the drink drive limit.
Thomas Dixon will now be sentenced by a judge at Leicester Crown Court next month after a magistrate told him at today’s hearing that the offences were worthy of a greater punishment than he could deliver.
Leicester Magistrates Court was told how Dixon was seen driving his Ford Fiesta erratically and dangerously before the collision took place at the Kirby Bellars crossing in the early hours of May 4.
After the vehicle hit the barrier, he was helped out of it by a special constable as a freight train approached.
Prosecutor Nicola Dean told the court: “The crown would say this case involved some seriously bad driving on behalf of the defendant in the early hours of the morning.
“He was seen to be moving too fast for the road conditions and he went on to hit the level crossing and span on to the train line.
“He was extracted just before his car was hit by a freight train.
“Aside from the damage to his vehicle there is now a huge cost to the railway network running into the thousands of pounds.
“This involved a prolonged course of dangerous driving in which he showed a disregard for the safety of himself and other people.
“Despite Mr Dixon being a person of previous good character the crown would say this matter is so serious that the case should be committed to crown court for sentence.”
The court was told Dixon admitted to drinking three pints of beer and his police breath test gave a reading of 55 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
The magistrate heard that Dixon had lost his job as an apprentice with British Telecom as a result of the court proceedings.
His car, which he had owned for 11 years, was destroyed in the collision with the train, the court was told.
Defence solicitor, Imogen Cox, told the hearing that her client should be given a suspended sentence because he was a man of ‘impeccable character’ prior to the offences and that he had driven his car and fork lift trucks in the past without being involved in any accidents.
Ms Cox told the court: “Mr Dixon pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, there were no injuries arising from this incident, the road was quiet at this time and there was no mention of excessive speed.
“He is facing a prison sentence but I would argue that the public would be better protected by disqualifying him from driving and ordering him to take a mandatory re-test before he can drive again.”
She said that Dixon had already been punished by losing his job - he was 13 months into an apprenticeship which would have given him a good qualification at the end of it - and the inevitable loss of his licence would make him much less employable.
Dixon, who is a former student at Brooksby Melton College and lives at home with his parents in Melton, today pleaded guilty to driving while over the alcohol limit, obstructing an engine or carriage using the railway by an unlawful act and driving dangerously.
The magistrate read a letter of remorse written by Dixon and two character references but decided to commit the case to crown court on July 18.
The defendant was told he was disqualified from driving until the sentence is delivered.