A CAR thief who smashed through a railway crossing, putting hundreds of passengers’ lives at risk, has been jailed.
Terence Fowler (20) had stolen a red Mercedes C180 from outside a home in March on the morning of June 20, last year.
The stolen car triggered an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera in Peterborough and officers tried to stop him on Town Bridge.
But Fowler, of Peyton Avenue, March, refused to pull over and a pursuit ensued through Stanground to Whittlesey at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour.
During the pursuit, Fowler drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook vehicles on roundabouts and knocked off another vehicle’s wing mirror.
Police abandoned the pursuit because it was too dangerous and could only watch as he ploughed through a closed level crossing at King’s Dyke with a Cross Country train just seconds away.
Passengers reported feeling the carriages shudder as the train smashed into the barrier debris moments later.
The vehicle was found abandoned in Woolpack Lane, Whittlesey.
However, forensic tests discovered Fowler’s blood on the smashed windscreen and he was traced through his DNA.
He was caught after being arrested in Bournemouth for an assault.
Fowler pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, criminal damage, obstructing an engine or carriage using a railway and driving with no insurance.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday, (April 14).
Detective Inspector Michael Branston said: “Fowler showed total disregard for other road users, pedestrians and rail passengers as he tried to evade being caught by police.
“His actions put many lives at risk and he was lucky not to have been killed himself.
“This case shows that no matter what lengths criminals will go to, justice will always catch up with them in the end.”