Moscicki said the male driver, a 66-year-old from Mount Macedon, remained seated in his car, looking straight ahead and not reacting. He was later taken to hospital.
“I saw people just trying to just react in emergency mode,” she told this masthead.
On Monday, victims’ footwear lay strewn on the grass.
Witnesses said the car drove at a normal speed down the steep hill next to the pub, before unexpectedly mounting the kerb and striking patrons. Tyre tracks were visible on the grass and road on Monday morning.
Hepburn Shire Mayor Brian Hood said the community would be absolutely devastated.
“This is completely out of the ordinary. So it’ll hit people hard, because it’s happened right in the middle of town at a very popular pub – very popular outdoor dining area for people.
“People are well and truly aware of the area and for something like that to happen so unexpectedly, it’ll have a severe impact on some people.”
He expressed concerns for the mental wellbeing of first responders and the local community.
“I feel for the first responders who … had a very confronting scene to deal with. They did a brilliant job, of course, as did the council’s staff.”
Ambulance Victoria regional director Trevor Weston said local crews were among the first to respond and found venue patrons and the public trying to help the injured.
He said the scene was confronting and chaotic.
“I can only imagine what the community would be feeling this morning … a very close-knit community,” he said.
“Some of the initial crews responding were from Daylesford and of course, our thoughts are with them, you never want to respond to anything like this but certainly not in your hometown.”
A boy was flown to hospital in a critical condition, while another boy and two adults were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Jenna Acquarola and James Deriu, who were visiting from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, laid flowers at the scene on Monday morning and described a near-miss on Sunday, saying they sat in the beer garden an hour before the crash.
They left the pub and returned for dinner, arriving five minutes after the incident unfolded and described seeing “white sheets all over the road”.
Deriu said witnesses, who had earlier enjoyed a warm day in the sunshine, were traumatised in the immediate aftermath.
“We were sitting at this bar here, and people that were first on the scene were traumatised … they were beside themselves and it didn’t happen to them, they were just watching it.”
Acquarola described eerie scenes in the popular regional town, which was bustling ahead of the Melbourne Cup public holiday.
“There were people everywhere … standing around just everywhere. Everyone was quiet,” she said.
Thongs and shoes lay among grass scarred with tyre tracks, while jugs remained on picnic tables where people dined on Sunday. A streetlight lay on its side, closing the road next to the historic pub.
Most businesses remained closed on Monday, but a few people visited the scene to lay flowers for people who had lost their lives.
A healthcare worker, who asked not to be named, said she arrived at the scene to find a pair of children’s shoes strewn a long distance from one another.
“I also saw at least four phones on the road,” she said. “It was so real. So human.”
Head of Road Policing Operations, Superintendent John Fitzpatrick, praised quick-acting onlookers who rushed to help after the crash unfolded.
“No one wants to see what has occurred here,” Fitzpatrick said.
“But it is amazing what people do when others are injured. From what I’ve been told, there were a lot of people who attended to those who have been injured and killed.
“Out of a terrible set of circumstances, people have really done the right thing and tried to help.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his condolences for the crash victims from Beijing, where he will meet the Chinese president on Monday.
“We are all shocked by what happened in Daylesford, and so deeply saddened – for those whose lives were so cruelly cut short, and for those who can never be the same again,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The hearts of all Australians go out to everyone affected, including loved ones, friends, first responders and the Daylesford community.”
Ballarat MP Catherine King also expressed her condolences to the victims’ loved ones, saying: “Five people have lost their lives … five families have had their lives changed forever … It will really have shocked a lot of people, and I think we’d really only just be coming to terms to what happened today.”
She said the beer garden would have been a busy scene before the crash, adding that it was set up post-COVID with picnic tables, chairs, and an ice-cream shop.
“It was a really warm night last night. We’ve got a long weekend in Melbourne with the Melbourne Cup, as well as a major tourism destination, [which] was pretty busy last night.”
with Roy Ward, Benjamin Preiss and Caroline Schelle
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https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/victoria/children-among-five-killed-in-daylesford-pub-crash-20231106-p5ehs8.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Two children among the five fatalities in Royal Daylesford Hotel crash