A woman who drove her Ford Fiesta onto the railway line while drunk has been sentenced, following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.
Tayler Barnham, 29, of Guinevere Terrace, Rochester, appeared at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 11th January where she pleaded guilty to one count of driving without due care and attention and one count of drink driving.
On Wednesday 2nd February, a judge at Medway Magistrates’ Court sentenced her to eight weeks suspended for two years. She was disqualified from driving for two years and is required to be on a curfew between 7pm and 7am for three months. She was also ordered to pay costs totalling £213.
The court heard that Barnham was driving her Ford Fiesta through rural Kent on the evening of Saturday 29th May 2021 and approached a level crossing on Monkshill Road near Faversham. As she drove over the level crossing at just before midnight she veered left onto the live railway line.
CCTV footage captured the moment her car made contact with the third rail causing an electrical discharge before coming to an abrupt stop. The crossing barriers then start to descend as a train approaches. The driver of the passenger train then spotted the car’s headlights and had to apply the train’s emergency brakes to avoid hitting the stationary Fiesta. BTP received a call from the driver reporting the car on the tracks a few moments later.
the electrified third rail carries 750 volts – enough to kill you
Barnham then proceeded to make calls to her family and friends before officers arrived at the level crossing and arrested her. A breath sample was taken in police custody and she was found to be more than three times over the drink driving limit. After the car was extracted from the railway line, officers located an empty beer can in its footwell.
In her interview the following morning, Barnham handed detectives a pre-prepared statement in which she claimed she wasn’t driving the car but was in the passenger seat directing the driver. A few months later, in September 2021, she admitted to being the car’s driver on the evening of the incident.
Detective Constable Mike Ganly said “Barnham’s impetuous decision that evening could have resulted in tragic consequences. Not only did she put herself in grave danger, she caused significant risk to the safety of the passengers on the approaching train. I hope the footage of her ill-judged actions and her prosecution serves as a stark warning to anyone who may consider driving or stepping onto the tracks”.
The full video can be seen here.