A CARE-WORKER pushing a wheelchair has been hit by a car at a busy Ashbourne roundabout.
Marie Rowe has been praised after her quick-thinking actions prevented her client, a 56-year-old vulnerable adult, from being seriously injured in the accident, which happened on Thursday afternoon while the pair were crossing the road, near to Waterside Park.
The 41-year old said: “I was taking him out for a walk – we had decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and wander into Ashbourne to enjoy a cup of coffee and pick up his prescription.
“We had walked down from Clifton, where he lives, and started to cross the road by the roundabout, going towards Waterside Park.
“He is wheelchair bound, and it’s quite heavy. I checked the road was clear both ways and started to push him across, when suddenly I saw a silver car on the other side of the roundabout.
“I thought it might go off up the A515 towards Sudbury, but when I realised it was coming straight for us I knew I had to act fast.
“I pushed the wheelchair with all my might so my client was safe, but then in that instant I suddenly realised that meant I was going to be hit.
“I was so concerned that my client might have been hurt though, that I jumped straight back up to make sure he was ok.
“His wheelchair was still upright, thank goodness, but he was in the middle of the road, so it’s a good job nothing was coming the other way.
“I think it must have been the adrenaline kicking in that made me stand up again straight away, but when I knew he was ok I collapsed.”
Ms Rowe works for Mediline Nurses and Carers, and is a residential carer, spending every other week living with her client in Clifton.
She has been looking after him for more than six months and in that time she says she has become very fond of him. She said she was worried how he would react after the accident: “We do spend every minute of the day together when I am working with him, so obviously we have a really good relationship.
“I didn’t think twice about making sure he was ok and putting his welfare before mine. To be honest I was only doing my job and looking him, but now I am worried. He was really upset when it happened, so I want to go and see him as soon as possible and reassure him that everything is ok.”
A staff member from Homebase who heard the accident was first on scene and called the emergency services.
Ms Rowe said: “The police were really quick to arrive, but it seemed like the ambulance took forever and I was in a lot of pain by then. Apparently they took so long because of the bad traffic in Derby.”
She was taken to Derby Royal hospital, and was released later that night at 9pm with back pain, swelling and bruising to her right hip area, pain down her right leg and whiplash.
She said: “The doctors wanted to keep an eye on me for a few hours to make sure I was ok, I landed on my coccyx so as you can imagine it’s still really uncomfortable and painful.”
Her employees have praised her for her unselfish actions. Care manager, Trish Ruparel, said: “Marie has proven that working in the care industry is not just a job. We are very proud to have Marie as part of our team, she has shown a genuine commitment to her client and we wish her a speedy recovery.”
Ms Rowe said she plans to spend a couple of days resting at her mother’s home near Alfreton, but she is keen to get back to work and make sure her client is ok: “I also want to see the staff at Homebase as they were fantastic looking and both of us after it happened, and his sister also came when she heard what had happened to help. I’m really grateful to everyone who helped and looked after us.”
She has called for urgent action to protect pedestrians from further accidents at the roundabout. She said: “I don’t blame the driver of the car at all. It’s a really bad roundabout, cars and lorries enter it at high speed at times and they don’t realise people will be crossing. There definitely needs to be something there to allow people to cross safely. Especially now Aldi is coming and the vets are opening. The roundabout is really dangerous, and not at all pedestrian friendly.”
Ashbourne Police, who attended the scene of the accident, say they are treating it as a “minor incident” and no arrests have been made.