The dramatic scenes unfurled earlier this afternoon (Monday, March 30), at about 2.25pm.
Trained officers had been pursuing the three suspects after two men had been seen jumping over a garden fence at Firsdown Close, in High Salvington, Worthing.
The fleeing black Vauxhall Astra crashed through the closed level crossing, in Ford Road, ‘narrowly missing an approaching train’, one witness said.
The witness added she heard a loud ‘screeching of tyres’ and ‘banging’ as the car blasted through the barrier, on its way towards Arundel, and collided with two parked vehicles.
“If it was this time last week it could have been catastrophic with all the school kids around,” the witness said.
Train services across Littlehampton, Arundel, Barnham, Bognor and Chichester remain subject to cancellations or delays.
The road was still closed at 4.30pm with police cordons in place around the northern end of the barriers.
For the full story, see this week’s paper.
For more about this afternoon’s incident, click here.