Pratibha Sharma, a 44-year-old woman, who had been an independent candidate for Victorian State Parliament as well as a candidate in the local council, lost her life in a tragic incident at the beer garden in Royal Daylesford Hotel.
The devastating crash, which occurred on Sunday evening, claimed the lives of five individuals, including Pratibha’s young daughter, Anvi, aged 9, and her partner Jatin Chugh, 30. The SUV crashed into the packed beer garden, striking several diners enjoying their evening outside the Royal Daylesford Hotel in the popular regional tourist town. Tragically, members of a family they were vacationing with were also among the casualties and sustained injuries.
The 66-year-old Mount Macedon man behind the wheel of the SUV is scheduled for questioning by the major crash investigators on Tuesday. His testimony is crucial in piecing together the chain of events that led a simple weekend retreat between two families to spiral into a heart-wrenching tragedy.
Onlookers described the crash site as a “nightmarish” scene as a white BMW SUV veered onto the pavement in front of the pub, crashing into patrons seated at picnic tables on the grassy outdoor area. The vehicle ploughed through the crowd, subsequently colliding with a light pole before coming to a halt at a nearby intersection.
The white BMW X-series SUV was reportedly traveling downhill along Albert Street, heading westward toward the Midland Highway when the driver seemingly overlooked a sharp right-hand bend in the road. Subsequently, the vehicle mounted the pavement, barreling into a gathering of numerous pub-goers situated in the open-air al fresco area in front of the establishment.
Sharma and her partner, both from Point Cook, met their untimely demise at the crash site. While her daughter initially received medical attention, she tragically succumbed to her injuries later on.
The group had been enjoying their vacation with close friends, who unfortunately were also impacted by the SUV’s collision.
Vivek Bhatia, a 38-year-old man from Tarneit, and his 11-year-old son, Vihaan, were instantly killed, while Bhatia’s 36-year-old wife, Ruchi Bhatia, and their younger son, Abeer, aged 6, were swiftly taken to the hospital in critical condition.
As of Monday night, Ruchi remained in the intensive care unit at Royal Melbourne Hospital, while Abeer’s condition was stabilized at the Royal Children’s Hospital, following the severe injuries he sustained, including broken legs and internal wounds.
Remarkably, another group of diners, which included an 11-month-old infant, managed to survive the collision. A 43-year-old woman from Kyneton and a 38-year-old man from Cockatoo are currently hospitalized but in stable condition. The infant is also recuperating well after being transported to the hospital alongside his 34-year-old mother, who fortunately remained unharmed.