National News

Girl helped elderly man who fell down ditch, awarded by police

Posted May 21, 2018 11:39 a.m. EDT

— A young woman in Berlin is being hailed a hero after finding an elderly man who had fallen down into a ditch and had been stuck in the dark for hours.

"Honestly, it's very humbling and I can't stop blushing because it really was a team effort," said Ericka Lanza.

Ericka Lanza is not exactly comfortable with the word hero, but that is what Berlin Police are calling her.

Late one night last week she heard screams in the dark of an elderly man who had fallen in a ditch.

"I was walking to my car and I heard a man's voice and at first it sounded like he said 'hello' and I immediately stopped in my tracks because I was really scared because it was my worst fear to hear a man's voice around me. I couldn't see him and then I heard him saying though 'help me, help me' and I

She and friends then called 911 and police rescued him.

The man had been stuck for more than two hours. He had just moved in at a 55 and older community nearby.

He thought he'd explore the property so he began walking around this grassy area and he thought that this was still flat, but what he didn't realize was it was a hill with a steep drop.

The victim found himself at the bottom of a hill stuck in bramble and poison ivy in the cold dark screaming for help.

Fortunately, it was across the street from a house where Lanza heard his screams.

Lanza was presented with a Berlin Police community service coin for her heroic efforts.

"Ericka is part of a very exclusive club, members of our community, not too many people have one of the coins, but basically it an appreciation award for being our eyes and ears and calling us that night and making a difference. Small actions have a big impact and we think it did in this case," said Berlin Deputy Chief of Police, Chris Ciuci.

It's been a busy week for Lanza who also just graduated college on Monday.

"It's been a crazy week and especially being a special work major you know it's all about helping people so it feels really good to do that not only in school and my job, but out in the community," said Lanza.