Fancy dress driver causes chaos when car gets stuck on level crossing
A CHRISTIAN volunteer who stopped her car on a level crossing while dressed as a clown was fined.
Motorist Lesley Scott admitted driving without care and attention and obstructing an engine when she appeared in court yesterday.
The 58-year-old church volunteer, of Guildford Road, Southport, was told to pay £180 in fines and court costs and was given three points on her licence.
North Sefton magistrates court heard how at 5.30pm on December 13 last year, Scott took a wrong turning in the dark, mistaking the level crossing for Birkdale’s leafy Dover Road.
She was returning home from helping out at a Christian face-painting event, dressed as Santa’s little helper.
Stuck fast on lethal live rails, she could not reverse her red Renault Megane and so tiptoed between the tracks to safety and called for help.
The court heard a Southport-bound train coming from Hillside station was due to traverse the crossing at 50mph at any minute.
The train was stopped, but removing the car from the crossing took 32 minutes, causing substantial delays on the Northern Line, for which Merseyrail demanded £8,000 in compensation.
Yesterday, Scott was told the incident was “a tragedy potentially”, but her “quick action” averted it.
Magistrates said they considered it “a momentary lapse in concentration”.
The court also agreed with Nick Archer, defending, that Merseyrail should seek compensation through Scott’s insurers.
Mr Archer told magistrates: “You may have read about this and I guess like me you thought it was a joke.”
Scott was accompanied at court by several family members and church goers.
At the time of the incident, fire service watch manager Richard Plunkett said: “She is very, very lucky to be alive.
“It could easily have been a fatality. We do not know how she was not electrocuted when she drove onto the tracks. The car wheels must have earthed her.
“Afterwards she was shaking like a leaf. I think she realised the danger she had been in.”
He added: “When we arrived I asked for the driver, and there she was in all her glory.
“She is the first clown on a level crossing I have come across.” THE POST