Pictured: Drunk railway worker who could have caused fatal train tragedy in Doncaster
This is the drunk railway worker who could have caused a major rail tragedy in Doncaster after he smashed his car into a high speed express train.
Network Rail employee Michael Rochford was jailed for ten months yesterday after pleading guilty to the incident in June when he got behind the wheel of his Range Rover and ploughed into the LNER train as it hurtled through Rossington.
The court heard he had spent the afternoon drinking and was ‘racing’ at the time of the crash which saw passengers on the train suffer whiplash injuries and a pensioner living nearby narrowly avoiding injury after debris from the smash rained down into his garden.
The signal worker has now been sacked from his lucrative rail job and also given a four year driving ban for the smash which a judge said could have caused a ‘catastrophe.’
He fled the scene of the accident and later lied to police, saying that his car had been stolen and that he was not behind the wheel of the vehicle following the crash on June 13.
He later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, attempting to pervert the course of justice and failing to stop after an accident after CCTV footage showed him leaving a pub near the scene shortly before the crash with the London King’s Cross to Newcastle Azuma at around 8pm.
Sentencing Rochford, 27, Judge Jeremy Richardson said: “You could have caused a major train crash.
"Many people could have died. You could have caused an absolute catastrophe.”
Rail passengers reported hearing a loud bang, several were thrown from their seats and others reported suffering whiplash injuries as the train shook violently from side to side.
Witnesses reported seeing Rochford flee from the vehicle and he called his mother to come and pick him up, taking him to his grandmother’s house.
While there, he changed his clothes and was overheard telling people in a series of phone calls not to tell anyone where he had been.
He told his mum: “I was only racing – because I’m the best.”
After police discovered Rochford of Heatherfields Crescent, Rossington was the registered keeper of the vehicle, he was interviewed and he denied being the owner, saying his car had been stolen from Rossington Main after he had left his keys and wallet unattended the previous day.
The court heard that the smash had caused more than 15 hours of delays on the UK rail network and had cost nearly £345,000.
In a victim impact statement read in court, one passenger said: "I keep replaying it my head what would have happened if the train had derailed. It has kept me awake.”
Defending, barrister Edward Moss said Rochford was of previous good character, with a clean driving licence and had shown ‘genuine remorse.’
He said that his client had recently suffered a relationship break up and was ‘devastated by his actions and the impact it has had on him and his family.”
Sentencing, Judge Richardson told a tearful Rochford: “You drank heavily and took leave of your senses.
"You drove at speed into the side of a fast moving express train.
“You could have caused a major catastrophe on the railway line when many people would have lost their lives.”