A disabled driver was left in tears when a car wash helper in Sudbury drove her adapted lifeline vehicle into a post.
Cancer survivor Joanne Connah has been left unable to work after her car was driven into a post when she left it to be cleaned at the hand car wash at Tesco in Woodhall Business Park.
The man who drove her adapted car, who does not hold a driving license, has admitted that he is not an employee at the car wash.
Miss Connah claims her car insurer, again Tesco, has refused to get involved as she willingly handed over her keys and walked away.
“I just went off and burst into tears,” said Miss Connah. “I only stopped crying the next morning.
“I just went to get my car washed, I didn’t think they’d need to drive it, they never asked anything about it.”
The driver, Salh Shrwany from West Bromwich, who was helping out a friend, apologised but said Miss Connah had never informed him of the different pedal set up on the vehicle.
“Automatic cars normally have two pedals,” he said. “I pressed the brake and it went into the wall - I didn’t know it was the gas pedal.
“I feel sorry. Nobody wants this to happen, it was an accident.”
Miss Connah, who lives in Betty Cocker Grove said despite this the company never told her that they planned to move the car.
“If I’d have known there’s no way in hell I’d have handed over my keys.”
Now she is facing the prospect of being unable to work while she tries to buy a new car and has the special adaptations fitted.
She said: “I don’t have a lot of money and I rely on that car heavily.”
The car is vital for Miss Connah in her role as a support worker for people living with disabilities.
As part of her job she drives these adults to different activities in the area, something she cannot do without her adapted car, meaning she may lose a percentage of her pay.
Miss Connah was left with walking difficulties, and uses a brace after surviving a cancerous tumour which “destroyed” the sciatic nerve in her right leg when she was 18.
Waves car wash has now made a settlement offer of £1,500 to Miss Connah for the damage caused and compensation which has been accepted.
A Waves spokesperson said: “There was an isolated incident that took place at our Sudbury site. Whilst the person responsible is known to the franchisee, he is not a Waves staff member.
“There are stringent protocols in place across all our sites. Any breach of this carries severe commercial consequences. Through a thorough investigation we will determine how this happened.
“We would like to offer her our sincere apologies, and reassure customers that this will not happen again.”
Miss Connah’s brother-in-law Stuart Dantzic, who blockaded the car wash with his van on Monday afternoon, was unhappy that the car wash was branded as Tesco but was actually run by a third party.
“People trust a name like Tesco but people need to be aware it is not theirs,” he said.