Stevenage disabled woman ‘eternally grateful’ after men save her from flooding underpass

The underpass between Derby Way and Mildmay Road in Stevenage after flooding on Friday. Credit: Dani

The underpass between Derby Way and Mildmay Road in Stevenage after flooding on Friday. Credit: Daniel White - Credit: Archant

A disabled woman whose mobility scooter got stuck in a flooding underpass during last week’s storm is “eternally grateful” to the men who saved her.

Yvette Summerton next to her mobility scooter which became stuck in a muddy underpass

Yvette Summerton next to her mobility scooter which became stuck in a muddy underpass - Credit: Archant

Yvette Summerton left her home in Derby Way at about 3.45pm on Friday to go to the shops at the nearby Oval shopping precinct.

The 70-year-old was travelling on her mobility scooter through the underpass between her house and Mildmay Road when it started to rain heavily and she became stuck in the mud.

Mrs Summerton, who lost one of her legs in 2009 as a result of a gangrene infection from a cut while gardening three years earlier, said: “I was out of milk and cat food so I thought I’d quickly pop out to the shops. The weather didn’t look too bad when I went out but then it just started chucking it down.

“I went into the underpass and immediately got stuck. The water just started flooding in and I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t move. It was incredibly frightening and the water quickly rose up to my ankles. I was shouting for help but no one could hear me.


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“Then I heard a voice and a young man ran over. He had three friends with him and together they managed to pull me free.

“They then pushed me all the way home, because my scooter was broken, which took over an hour.

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“I’m eternally grateful to those four men for their help because without them I don’t know what would have happened.

“I was lucky but something needs to be done. If it wasn’t so muddy I wouldn’t have got stuck so I think the county council need to make sure the underpasses are clean because next time this happens there might be no-one to help.”

Cleaning the underpasses is the responsibility of Herts County Council’s highway department.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry to hear about these flooding incidents during Friday’s exceptionally heavy rainfall.

“We would encourage residents to report any incidents of flooding or debris on the highway that they believe to be hazardous to us through our online fault reporting system at www.hertsdirect.org/highways

“Hertfordshire County Council is responsible for the maintenance of gully drains on publicly maintained highways. The frequency with which our contractor Ringway routinely cleans individual gullies is based on observed silt levels, information from customers and inspector reports. We will also deal with reported instances of flooding on the highway, which may mean additional cleaning of specific gullies if they are leading to flooding on the highway.”

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