Diabetes investigated by police in Daylesford pub crash
Dual investigations by police and a coroner are underway into a crash outside a Daylesford pub that killed five people, including two children. Photo: Facebook
Police are investigating whether a driver’s diabetes was a factor in how he came to plough into a roadside beer garden and kill five people.
Coroner Katherine Lorenz is investigating the November 5 crash outside the Royal Daylesford Hotel in regional Victoria, where a BMW SUV mounted the kerb and hit 10 patrons seated on outdoor tables.
Five people, including two children, died from the crash, and another five were injured.
Families of the victims – Pratibha Sharma, 44, her daughter Anvi, 9, Jatin Kumar, 30, Vivek Bhatia, 38, and his son Vihaan, 11 – attended the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne on Wednesday for a hearing.
There are dual investigations into the crash, with a criminal investigation and coronial probe underway.
Lorenz would investigate the causes and circumstances of the crash and make recommendations to promote public health, safety and the administration of justice, counsel assisting Andrew Imrie told the court.
Major Collisions Unit Detective Sergeant Romanis was called on Wednesday as a witness for an update on the police investigation.
He said the 66-year-old driver, the only occupant of the BMW, was taken to Ballarat Hospital for treatment and then interviewed by police. He has since been released pending further inquiries.
Romanis said police were “investigating the extent to which his medical condition, diabetes, was a factor in the collision”.
He said police had contacted 140 witnesses and were collecting statements and evidence.
Further, he said police were investigating public safety issues related to the location of the outdoor seating.
“The investigation is in its infancy,” Romanis said.
“A decision on whether charges will be laid has not yet been made.”
There was no estimated timeline for how long it would take police to finalise its investigation.
The coroner acknowledged the families of the victims in court.
“It has been a terrible loss for your families, your community and indeed for the community as a whole,” Lorenz said.
“It’s a sad and tragic outcome of what was a very pleasant day out for those people.
“We’ll do our best to accommodate the families involved and make our proceedings as expeditious as possible.”
She adjourned the matter until police are ready to provide another update to the court.