Footage shows moment NSW mother drives into oncoming freight train near Taree

Mother drives into Taree freight train Footage played in the Newcastle District Court showed the car trying to brake before it was hit by the train. Photo: Channel Seven
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The scene of the accident near Taree in April 2016. Photo: Scott Calvin

TweetFacebookA mother has sobbed in court as footage was played showing the terrifying moment she drove into the path of an oncoming freight train with her three children in the car.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, failed to stop as the train passed over a small country road at Moorland, near Taree,in April 2016.

Footage taken from the train showed the woman’s car slamming on the brakes and skidding onto the tracks.

The train driver blows a horn shortly before impact, and debris can be seen flying into the air as the train’s brakes screech.

It took 50 seconds for the train, loaded with thousands of tonnes of steel, to stop and its driver feared the people he hit were dead.

On Friday, a judge in the Newcastle District Court showed the mother mercy by sparing her from a jail term so she can continue to care for her children, one of whom was left brain damaged by the crash.

“[The children are]victims of this offence, to send their mother into jail at this moment will make them victims of this sentence,” Judge Roy Ellis said.

Two of the three girls- who were aged two, five and seven at the time – suffered critical injuries, with one needing CPR to be revived at the scene by a passing police officer.

One daughter still requires 24-hour care due to a brain injury suffered in the accident and her motherbarely manages to communicate with her through a series of hand squeezes.

The mother had pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

On Friday, shereceived15 months and 18 months in jail for each child that was critically injured, but the sentence was suspended given her need to care for them.

The scene of the accident near Taree in April 2016. Photo: Scott Calvin

“There are some cases that call for mercy,”Judge Ellis said.

“This offender has punished herself immensely every day since the accident.”

Outside court, the mother said: “A split second can just change your life.”

As video of the incident was played in court, she covered her eyes and ears,sobbing through the ordeal.

The impact sent the car rolling down an embankment, the court heard.

Judge Ellis described the crossing where the accident occurred as “rather dangerous”.

He said there were no boom gates, no lights and grass two to three metres in height along the side of the road.

“It is a tragic situation without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.

Footage played in the Newcastle District Court showed the car trying to brake before it was hit by the train. Photo: Channel Seven

The woman, who was 30 at the time of the accident, was also suspended from driving for five years.

AAP

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