Cops yet to decide on charges against driver in crash that left 5 Australian-Indians dead
Melbourne: Police said they are yet to decide whether charges will be laid against the driver involved in a car crash that left five Indian-origin people dead in Australia, as the coroner’s office began its probe into the tragedy.
The 66-year-old man ploughed his SUV into the beer garden of Royal Daylesford Hotel in Victoria striking 10 people from three families who had gathered on November 5 to celebrate their weekend.
In a coronial hearing on Wednesday, Victoria police’s major collision investigation unit (MCIU) said the investigation was still in its infancy and no charges have been laid against the driver, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Detective Sergeant Peter Romanis from Victoria Police said it was not possible to estimate how long it would take to determine if charges will be laid.
“MCIU investigators are investigating the extent to which the driver’s medical condition, being diabetes, was a factor in the collision,” Romanis said.
The ‘insulin-dependent diabetic’ driver was admitted to medical care following the collision and was interrogated by the police on November 7.
Police said the driver did not have alcohol in his system and was released after being interrogated.
Romanis told the coroner that police have so far contacted about 140 witnesses as part of their investigation.
Martin Amad, the driver’s lawyer, had said earlier that his client was a family man with no criminal history.
“He is deeply distressed and feels great empathy with the families and friends of the victims and the Daylesford community,” Amad had said in a statement.
Vivek Bhatia (38), his son Vihan (11), Pratibha Sharma (44), her daughter, Anvi (nine), and partner Jatin Chugh (30) died in the crash.
Police said Anvi’s body would be released to her biological father.
Five other people, including Bhatia’s wife, Ruchi (36), younger son Abeer (six) and an 11-month-old child, were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries.