A mother and son who were seriously injured when a car ploughed into a pub in regional Victoria have been reunited nearly two weeks after the tragedy.
Five people were killed and another five injured when a BMW mounted the kerb and crashed into patrons at the Royal Hotel beer garden in Daylesford on Sunday, November 5.
The venue was packed with happy pub-goers on the day of the incident, just two days before the Melbourne Cup public holiday.
Among those killed were Vivek Bahtia and his 11-year-old son Vihaan, while his 36-year-old wife Ruchi and younger son, aged six, were injured and taken to separate hospitals.
On Wednesday, Ruchi and her youngest child reunited at the Royal Children’s Hospital after 11 days apart, family members confirmed to 7News.
After the reunion, Ruchi was taken back to Royal Melbourne Hospital to continue treatment.
As of Friday morning, a GoFundMe has raised more than $140,000 — just shy of its $150,000 goal — for the grieving and injured Bhatia family.
“We request the community to get behind the Bhatia family — Vivek and his 11-year-old son have lost their lives and Ruchi and her youngest son are hospitalised,” the fundraiser, organised by family friends Preet Singh and Ruby Kaur, states.
“It will be a long way to recovery and to get over this unbearable loss.”
The driver, a 66-year-old man from Mount Macedon, was interviewed by police on Tuesday. Charges have not been laid and inquiries are ongoing.
His lawyer, Martin Amad, said the driver was an insulin-dependent diabetic who required immediate treatment from paramedics at the scene.
“[The driver] is deeply distressed and feels great empathy with the families and friends of the victims and of the wider Daylesford community,” Mr Amad said.
“My client is a 66-year-old family man who has no criminal history. He returned a negative alcohol reading at the scene.”
Melbourne lawyer Pratibha Sharma, her partner Jatin Chugh and Sharma’s nine-year-old daughter Anvi also died in the crash. They had sat down for dinner with the Bhatia family mere seconds before the incident.
As well as Ruchi and her youngest son, the injured included a 43-year-old Kyneton woman and 38-year-old Cockatoo man. Both were discharged from hospital last week.
An 11-month-old boy, who was sitting with them, was also discharged from hospital last Tuesday.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton described the incident as an “absolute tragedy”.
Anyone who witnessed the crash, or who has information and is yet to come forward, is urged to speak to police.
Originally published as Daylesford, Victoria pub crash: Mum, son reunite after 11 days in hospital