Crossing crash car thief jailed
A car thief who ploughed through a rail crossing barrier in a stolen Mercedes seconds before a train passed is lucky be alive, police said.
Terence Fowler, 20, of March, Cambridgeshire, showed "total disregard" for the public as he hit speeds of 90mph on rural roads in an effort to escape capture, said a senior officer.
Police spoke out after Fowler admitted dangerous driving, along with a number of other offences, and was jailed for three-and-a-half years by a judge at Peterborough Crown Court.
Officers released police-car footage of Fowler's getaway drive between March and nearby Whittlesey in June 2010.
"Fowler refused to pull over and a pursuit ensued... at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour," said a police spokesman.
"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."
Police said the Mercedes C180 was later found abandoned and Fowler, who was jailed on Thursday, was arrested after his blood was found on the smashed windscreen.
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."