AA chief caught out by St Albans potholes
06:21 21 March 2013
POTHOLE-riddled roads in St Albans have claimed a high profile victim – the Automobile Association’s (AA) president was forced to call upon his own service to be rescued after the suspension collapsed on his Mercedes.
Edmund King, of St Albans, said he was left counting his blessings that the suspension broke while his vehicle was stationary at a local petrol forecourt, and not while on a motorway.
He had been driving along Hatfield Road to Beaumont School last Saturday (16) to take his son to a sports match when he stopped at the Morrisons service station.
Edmund explained: “I was filling up when I heard this sudden ‘whoosh’. It sounded like a tyre had been shot, and I assumed someone had suffered a punctured tyre or it was the car wash.
“But I didn’t realise it was my car until I walked around the front and noticed the body was touching the wheels. The front of the car had dropped right down.”
He was unable to drive his Mercedes E-Class estate from the forecourt as the front left spring had completely broken and the right front spring was also damaged.
Edmund said: “It was a relief that it happened while I was stopped at Morrisons and not when I was driving, for example on the motorway because what happens when the car drops like that is that you cannot steer left or right, just straight ahead.”
Ironically he has recently been quoted on national television, radio stations and in newspapers about pothole problems.
Edmund explained: “One-third of AA members have suffered damage to their vehicles by hitting potholes in the last two years.
“Little did I know that it would happen to me a few days after I did 80 interviews on the issue.
“I live in St Albans, so I know the potholes well. There is a plague of potholes and I do think that some of the local roads are worse than other areas.”
Edmund’s predicament at the weekend won sympathy and became a source of gentle ribbing from St Albans’ twitterati after he tweeted: “Teach me to talk up potholes. My front suspension just collapsed. Need to call the AA. Ho hum.”
David Firn replied: “Breaking news: @AAPresident’s suspension has collapsed. Update on time to arrival of fourth emergency service eagerly anticipated.”
Edmund joined in the jokes, apologising for blocking the diesel pump at the forecourt while waiting to be rescued.
@mike_1727 said: “Waves at @AAPresident leaving St Albans Morrisons car park on an AA truck. Bad news fella, that’ll cost you.”
When asked on Twitter to consider what sort of affect St Albans’ potholes have on cyclists and their bikes Edmund, a keen cyclist, responded that broken springs were “better than broken limbs”.
Edmund told the Herts Ad that while he could put in a compensation claim to Herts county council (HCC) for repairs there were so many potholes in the city it was difficult to know which one had caused the broken suspension.
A spokesman for HCC said that there have been more than 4,500 pothole repairs – both temporary and permanent – across the district at a total cost of £452,000 since October last year.