A routine shopping trip turned into a terrifying ordeal for one Bardwell family when Ashley Ruffles had a seizure while driving and began veering into oncoming traffic.
Ashley’s fiancée Lisa Bluett and their four children, aged three, seven, eight and 10, were all with him in the car when he was taken ill while driving along Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds.
Lisa, the front seat passenger, lifted the handbrake but, when the car kept moving, was forced to make another desperate move.
She said: “I had to some how think fast and try to stop the car so I climbed over him, got the brakes and steered at the same time.
“I didn’t really have a choice - it was that or crash with all my children in the car.”
“I remember shouting at my other half to move his legs, whilst he was having a seizure!
“Of course he couldn’t and I was whacking them out the way while climbing over him.
“The car was moving into oncoming traffic and I was trying to steer it away from that, keep it out the way and get it to stop.
“I was petrified. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more scary.”
Ashley, 28, was rushed to West Suffolk Hospital where he later learned that he had epilepsy.
The shock diagnosis has forced him to give up his nine-year job as a milkman, something he had always enjoyed.
Nevertheless, both he and Lisa, who he proposed to up Paris’ Eiffel Tower several weeks later, realise how lucky they were and are ‘unbelievably grateful’ to everyone who helped them on that terrifying day in July.
This includes a man in a white van who ‘came running down the road’ to help and called the ambulance, a woman in a black car who did her best to calm and reassure the children and two men wearing motorcross shirts who directed traffic around their car.
Lisa said: “I can’t really even put into words how unbelievably grateful and thankful I am to each and every one of them who worked together to help us out. They did such an amazing job and it’s a shame I couldn’t thank them then like I would have if I’d been in the right frame of mind.”
Ashley said: “I don’t really remember anything, just what I got told afterwards but from what I hear we definitely had some incredible people come and help.”