Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 17:28 UK

Railway track driver spared jail

Car on railway tracks
The car was spotted by a train driver on the opposite side of the tracks

A drunk woman who drove almost half a mile along railway tracks before her car broke down has been spared jail.

Alcoholic Karen Angus had downed wine and taken anti-depressants before she somehow turned on to the tracks at a Metro crossing in Fawdon, Newcastle.

The mother-of-three said she could not remember driving and, when arrested, told police she was having a "bad day".

Angus, 40, who admitted endangering rail travellers, was given a 10-month prison term, suspended for two years.

On 24 February, she was spotted by the driver of a Metro train carrying 20 passengers on the opposite side of the tracks, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

'I'm an alcoholic'

Prosecutor Debbie Breen said: "At about 11pm the Metro driver Alistair Joel saw headlights appear on the other side of the track.

"He slowed down and saw there was a motor vehicle on the track and applied the emergency brakes."

Karen Angus
The judge told Angus she was lucky to be alive

The driver walked down the track to the car, where Angus wound down the window and told him: "I'm an alcoholic, My car won't start."

At an earlier hearing, Angus, of Kielder Way, Gosforth, admitted endangering the safety of persons conveyed on a railway and failing to give a specimen of breath.

Jamie Adams, defending, said his client had not been trying to hurt anybody.

Judge David Wood also gave Angus a 12-month supervision order and banned her from driving for three years.

Judge Wood said: "Luckily for you the Metro train was coming from the opposite direction on the other side of the track otherwise you wouldn't be here at all."

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for Metro operator Nexus said: "The driver of the car showed complete disregard for the fact she had turned on to a railway line and put other people's lives in danger."

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