Pontyclun crash: Three in hospital after car hits people outside pub

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media captionThe car hit five people and the pub after the driver suffered a "medical episode", police believe

Three people remain in hospital after a car crashed into a group of customers in a pub beer garden in south Wales.

One pedestrian suffered life-changing injuries after the crash outside The Windsor Hotel in Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf, on Thursday evening.

South Wales Police said a 79-year-old man was believed to have suffered a "medical episode" before his silver Ford Puma hit the people and the pub.

Officers said the driver of the car was in a critical condition in hospital.

Six people were taken to hospital after the incident, but three have since been discharged.

Four other people were also taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff as a precaution with minor injuries.

image source, Kaitlin Moore
image captionThe crash happened in the early evening, when many people were having a drink in the beer garden

Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the "very distressing incident" on Llantrisant Road, about 15 miles north-west of Cardiff.

The pub will remain closed until Monday.

Peter Rex, 66, from Brynsadler, was sat on a bench outside the pub, chatting to friends and enjoying the sunshine when he heard a bang and fell to the ground.

He was badly bruised and was treated at the scene by a paramedic.

image captionPeter Rex was injured in the crash

"After I'd seen the car then he'd smashed all the bench and glasses everywhere, then bounced back after the impact," he said.

"You never expect a vehicle coming from nowhere and just bash right into you like that.

"It was a terrible shock. I was checked over by a paramedic and my blood pressure had gone right up with the shock."

'I could see people lying on the floor'

Kaitlin Moore, a hairdresser at the nearby Charizma salon, said she saw the crash.

"I was outside the salon waiting for a lift home when I heard a lot of glass smashing and I could see that a car had gone into the benches outside The Windsor pub," she said.

"It was very chaotic, it happened so quick, I think everyone was in shock."

image captionKaitlin Moore said she felt like she'd had a lucky escape after the car hit the spot where she usually waits for a lift

She added: "I could see people lying on the floor. People upstairs in the pub were throwing blankets and pillows down to them.

"I normally stand near the Windsor waiting for a lift home from work, it just happened I was waiting by the hairdresser's last night. I feel like I've had a lucky escape."

image captionCharles Morris was driving past the pub on Thursday when he saw people lying on the floor covered in blankets

Charles Morris said seeing people lying on the ground covered in blankets as he drove past the pub on Thursday night was "quite traumatic".

"I could see complete chaos around the pub," the 60-year-old said.

"It was packed, every table was full.

"One table was smashed and I guess that's the one the car went into, and there were people screaming," he said.

image source, Wales news service
image captionA silver Ford Puma crashed into The Windsor Hotel on Thursday evening

Pub manager Tia Lewis told BBC Wales: "A car came, crashed off the road and hit people sat in the beer garden.

"The car hit the wall of the pub too. It was very frightening, we can't believe it. I just hope the people hurt are OK.

"The pub was pretty busy and because of the nice weather there was obviously people sat outside."

A spokesman from owners Star Pubs and Bars said: "The thoughts of everyone at The Windsor are with the injured and all those caught up in this tragic accident. It was very upsetting for those who witnessed the crash.

"We would like to thank our customers, the local community and the emergency services for their support.

"The pub is closed until Monday out of respect for the injured and to allow our staff to recover from last night's shock."

image source, @jontutoring
image captionAt least five ambulances were sent to the Windsor Hotel

At least five ambulances, several police cars and four fire service vehicles attended the incident which happened just before 20:30 BST on Thursday.

The road was shut in both directions overnight, but has since reopened.

Ch Insp James Ratti of South Wales Police said: "Emergency services were confronted with a scene which involved a number of casualties.

"We worked alongside our colleagues in both the ambulance and fire services to deal with the casualties as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"This was a very distressing incident and we are very grateful to the members of the public who came to the aid of the injured people in the moments immediately after the collision."

image captionPeople have been helping with the clean-up outside the pub this morning

From the scene: BBC Wales reporter Ben Price

It's just after lunchtime in Pontyclun and it's very busy along the high street where people are milling around, going to the post office, the Co-op or one of the many hairdressers or caf??s.

One of the main topics of conversation I've overheard several times while walking along the high street is, of course, last night's crash outside the Windsor pub.

Local people are obviously shocked by the incident and some have been discussing what they might have seen or heard.

The pub sits just over the brow of the hill as you walk away from the hub of businesses along Llantrisant Road, just in front of Pontyclun rugby club and next to the train line.

Throughout the morning people have been stopping outside the premises, as a couple of contractors swept the pavement of any remaining debris and placed safety bollards along the area where the car smashed through chunky, wooden posts.

The pub owners say it'll remain closed until Monday out of respect for those who are injured and to allow staff to recover.

The overall feeling here is one of shock, with many saying their thoughts are with those who were seriously injured, including the elderly driver.

image captionThe 79-year-old local driver of the car is in a critical condition in hospital

Rhondda Cynon Taf leader Andrew Morgan reacted to the incident in his county: "My thoughts are with everyone affected by this."

Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones added: "The community are all devastated over this truly awful incident, my heart goes out to everyone involved.

"It was a nice evening, people enjoying themselves in the nice weather, sat outside having an evening meal and you just don't expect this to happen.

"We're a tight-knit community and everyone has rallied round together trying to help out as much as they can."

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