A man rushed to hospital after a car crashed into a pub beer garden full of people said everyone was “lucky to be alive” after the incident.
Darren George, 30, remains in hospital with leg fractures, ankle breaks and deep wounds after a car crashed into the Windsor pub in Pontyclun on Thursday July 22.
As well as this, he has a broken pelvis and will need skin grafts on his legs. Mr George, who is the only person who remains in hospital after the crash, says he felt the full force of the collison.
He was one of six people taken to hospital after the 79-year-old driver suffered what police said was a “medical episode” behind the wheel.
Read more: Six people taken to hospital after car hits pedestrians at pub in Pontyclun
Mr George has been at the pub on Thursday evening having drinks with friends as he was due to be working away in Exeter the following week. He was sitting on a picnic style bench with three others when the car crashed into them.
“I took quite the hit,” he said. “After it all happened I somehow managed to land on my feet. I looked down at my calf and saw the damage of it and thought ‘oh that’s my leg broken then’
“When I was sat on the bench, I could sort of see it happening out of the corner of my eye.
Emergency services at the scene of an icident at The Windsor in Pontyclun
The driver is believed to have suffered a medical episode
“I was really lucky because I don’t sit on a bench normally, I was sort of straddling it facing my friend and texting. Which is quite lucky because if I was sat front facing that car would have gone straight into my back.”
Mr George said that because of his position on the bench, he was able to see the vehicle veer towards the pub beer garden.
South Wales Police said that the driver suffered a “medical episode” behind the wheel and that the investigation into what happened was ongoing and no arrests had been made.
“I just saw out of the corner of my eye, the car coming over the brow of the hill and he’s come over onto the wrong side of the road” said Mr George.
“So I was looking at that and I said to my friend Dean, ‘look at this mad one’.
“He literally just narrowly missed a car coming out by the rugby club, he was on the pavement then and then swung back onto the other side of the road.
“I initially thought it was a drunk driver from the way he was on the pavement -it’s a drop kerb and there would have been people walking past so I did wonder if he had hit someone.”
The scene on Thursday night
Mr George said he soon realised that the table would take the force of the hit as “the driver just had his foot completely on the accelerator and came straight towards us.”
He said that he was “lucky” only to have damaged his leg after being hit and that everyone was “lucky to be alive.” He said that the help offered by members of the community in the minutes after the incident was invaluable.
Luckily enough there were a few ex-military guys there – one named Garth Hughes especially, I owe him my leg,” he said.
“When the accident happened he just kept me calm and had a bit of a laugh with me because I was still completely conscious and he had seen wounds like this before. There was just no time to react – I just about had time to stand up and I think that’s how my other leg is ok.”
Mr George, who remains in hospital while he undergoes further operations on his legs, says the crash was “a freak accident.”
“I don’t really know how to take it in or think about it. It is what it is, it’s a freak accident,” he said.
“I don’t know what the mental state of the driver is or how he is doing – obviously he had a medical episode. I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing. I just want to try and stay positive more than anything. It’s happened, you can’t change it, I just want to keep going forward.”
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Mr George said he owes his positivity to the members of the community who helped in the aftermath of the incident and have offered support since.
“Considering you can’t have visitors because of covid I haven’t been lonely – I’ve had plenty of people on the phone with me,” he added.
“I want to express my deep gratitude to the entire community because without their support I won’t be able to stay so positive and happy. It has been so helpful and important to me.”
(Image: Richard Williams)
Sat on the same table as Mr George was his friend Poppy Muir.
Ms Muir, 34, was released from hospital on Saturday afternoon with nerve damage to her leg. She says she will have to undergo physio and will be bed bound and on crutches “for a while.”
“We’re all very lucky to be alive to be honest, so we’re just grateful for that and for all of the help everyone gave us.
“Everyone was brilliant, the staff in the Windsor was absolutely brilliant. There were all of the people passing by – some were ex-forces, some were nurses – everyone just pulled together to make sure we were as comfortable as we could be.
She said that the incident happened within seconds but it took longer for her brain to register what had happened.
“One minute you’re all sat there and you see this car coming over the bridge, and the next you realise it’s coming towards you and you have nowhere to go,” she said.
“It was just a shock like what on earth happened. There were people everywhere, tables everywhere, people all on the floor, it was like being in a skittle alley and we were the pins – you all end up going in different directions.
“Our table was the one the car went straight into. Because the way the tables are – picnic benches – you’re just trying to get yourself out and the next minute it happens. You’re all just looking at the car and the next minute it’s hit us.
“You never think something like that will happen, it is a freak accident.”
Like Mr George, she said that without the help of the community who rushed to the aid of the injured people then the outcome could have been much different.
“Even though we’ve got injuries it could have been a million times worse,” she said. “We’re just so grateful and without the way everyone reacted to the situation it could have been so much worse.”
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