A DRIVER who escaped death when a train smashed into her car on a level crossing has been banned from driving.

Jennifer Coldwell, 45, claimed she suffered stress and anxiety after the crash.

Lewes magistrates heard Coldwell got lost on her way to a bonfire celebration at Falmer last November 7.

The mother-of-two, who was accompanied by a friend, stopped her Mercedes near a level crossing at Hamsey, near Cooksbridge.

Barry Hughman, prosecuting, said Coldwell, of Old Keysford Hall, Horsted Keynes, decided to continue over the level crossing rather than turn back, not noticing the lights were changing.

Trapped by the barriers, Coldwell tried desperately to drive her car out of the way, but seconds later it was hit by an Eastbourne to Haywards Heath train.

Mr Hughman said: "The driver of the train saw a vehicle on the track ahead.

"He signalled his horn but it did not move. The train then crashed into the vehicle before stopping half a mile down the line, where the driver contacted the transport police."

Coldwell admitted careless driving and failing to comply with a road sign and endangering rail passengers.

Kevin Smyth, defending, said his client panicked when she realised the danger she was in and was unable to reverse out of the way of the train.

In a statement read out in court, Coldwell said: "I am really, really sorry. I have been devastated by the incident."

Magistrates banned her from driving for four months and fined her £2,500.

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