The lawyer of the 66-year-old driver who crashed into a busy Victorian country pub, killing five members of two young families, has shared what happened that night.
An out of control BMW X5, driven by the 66-year-old Mt Macedon man, crashed into the beer garden of the Royal Hotel at Daylesford at about 6.05pm on Sunday.
Witnesses at the scene claimed the driver appeared to have suffered a medical episode with his eyes ‘glazed over’.
Tests found the driver did not have drugs or alcohol his system.
On Wednesday, the man’s lawyer, Martin Amad, confirmed the horror incident was triggered by a medical episode and is still in hospital.
‘[The driver] is deeply distressed and feels great empathy with the families and friends of the victims and of the wider Daylesford community,’ he said.
‘My client is a 66-year-old family man who has no criminal history. He returned a negative alcohol reading at the scene. He is an insulin dependent diabetic and required immediate treatment by paramedics at the scene. He remains in hospital.’
Mr Amad described the incident as ‘a terrible tragedy’.
‘My client has been interviewed by Victoria Police. He has not been charged with any offence,’ he said.
‘It’s anticipated the investigation will take some time.’
The Daylesford pub, about 90 minutes’ drive northwest of Melbourne, was packed with hundreds of customers in the hours before the crash due to the unofficial long weekend before Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup public holiday.
Victoria Police confirmed four people were killed at the scene of the crash and another in hospital in the hours after. Several more were injured.
One woman described to Daily Mail Australia the horror of seeing the car barrelling towards the busy pub.
‘It was just an explosion. There were bodies everywhere,’ she said.
Police confirmed those killed in the crash were from two families who were friends and visiting the region.
Young boy Vihaan Bhatia, 11, was killed alongside his father Vivek, 38, and family friends Pratibha Sharma, 44, and Jatin Chugh, 30, as well as Ms Sharma’s daughter Anvi, nine.
Ms Sharma and Anvi were very close with the nine-year-old writing her mother a beautiful note congratulating her on passing her bar exam and was admitted as a Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria in June.
Vihaan’s mother, Ruchi Bhatia, remains in intensive care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital while his brother, Abeer, is being treated for internal injuries at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The family had reportedly sat down at the table less than a minute before the crash.
A six-year-old boy was severely injured in the crash with both his legs broken. He is now in a stable condition.
Two men, aged 43 and 38 years old, a 35-year-old woman and an 11-month old baby boy were also injured in the crash and are believed to be in a stable condition.
A multi-faith vigil for the victims is being held in Daylesford on Wednesday.
The Royal Hotel is expected to remain closed until Thursday with a memorial set up outside as locals grieve.
Flowers, toys and other items significant to the victims have been left outside the pub near some tyre marks that still remain in the grass from Sunday.
Wyndham City mayor Susan McIntyre visited the site on Tuesday to extend the thoughts of her ‘heartbroken’ community.
She said that since so many west-Melbourne residents are first-generation Australians they need to stick together in tough times.
‘We have people from all around the world, so people don’t necessarily have that extended family support, so our community is really supportive,’ she said.
More to come.