Getaway driver abandons vehicle in front of 70mph train with just seconds to spare
There are few things more dramatic than high-speed police chases. It's no wonder, then, that they're the subject of countless video games and movie scenes. But, while they're thrilling to watch on the small screen, the reality is enough to make anyone's heart beat out of their chest - especially if they've decided that they're willing to risk their life in a bid to evade the cops.
Case in point, this footage which was recently taken on a police car's dashcam in Yorkshire, England. It features a getaway driver speeding through traffic in what we can only presume is a stolen decommissioned ambulance.
Shockingly, prior to the chase coming to such an abrupt end, 41-year-old Shane Hughes had led officers on a 37-mile chase before finally abandoning his vehicle on the railway tracks at Kildwick, North Yorkshire, on July 13.
In the clip below, he can be seen entering a roundabout the wrong way. When he eventually approaches the railway barrier, he crashes through it, and spotting the oncoming train - which was traveling at 70 mph - he has just seconds to avoid certain death.
This is the dramatic moment the getaway driver managed to escape a high-speed train with inches to spare:
Not wanting anyone on board the train to be injured, the officers who had been chasing Hughes wave their hands frantically to let the train driver know of the danger ahead. Thankfully, it passed by with inches to spare.
But while the train crossing might have stopped Hughes in his tracks (pardon the accidental pun), there have been instances of getaway drivers crossing them dangerously and having much more death-defying escapes.
This is the unbelievable moment a getaway driver crashed through one moment before a 120-tonne train:
Hughes did not escape the police for long in spite of his efforts. On Wednesday, he was jailed for 22 months and banned from driving for six years and 11 months. The judge described the case as the worst instance of reckless driving he'd ever seen.
He pleaded guilty to the various driving offenses and theft.
Traffic Constable Gemma Brett of the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said after Hughes' sentencing: "On the day of these offenses, Shane Hughes put numerous lives at risk and could have caused untold carnage."
"His actions were totally irresponsible, illegal and focused entirely on himself with no thought whatsoever for the safety of anyone else. The sentence handed to him today shows that the courts, as well as the police, are determined to keep North Yorkshire’s communities safe by getting offenders like Hughes off our roads."
We can only hope that these near misses will deter other would-be getaway drivers from doing the same thing. The odds are that if you risk crossing train tracks when the barriers are down, you're going to get killed by a train.