The owner of a bar which became the scene of tragedy after a woman was killed in a ‘hit-and-run’ has reacted in shock as he spoke of the trauma to his staff and customers who witnessed the incident.
Tony Callaghan, who runs the Fifteens pub in Pemberton in Wigan said his team were ‘sticking together’ after the horror unfolded outside the venue on Ormskirk Road last night (8 April). Witnesses described seeing a Land Rover plough into a group of pedestrians, killing a woman in her 40s.
Mr Callaghan confirmed the woman had been visiting the bar and shared his sympathies to her family following the tragedy. I have told the Manchester Evening News he doesn’t know her identity, but understands she ‘isn’t from the area’ and had been ‘visiting family.’
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Two other male pedestrians were also seriously injured in the crash, police said. An investigation has been launched after witnesses described seeing two young men jumping out of the Land Rover, before others chased after them – pinning one to the ground until officers arrived.
“It’s a tragic thing that happened. People have just gone out to enjoy a night in our bar and this happens,” Mr Callaghan said. “It’s awful. We wish our very best to all the families affected.
“Our customers and staff tended to the people who were injured and they were giving first aid to the lady who sadly lost her life. I didn’t know the lady but I do know she was visiting family for the weekend and wasn’t from the area.It’s just a very tragic incident.
“It is a trauma for the lady’s family and everyone involved last night. You can’t believe it has happened in Pemberton.” Mr Callaghan said he has since spoken to his staff of him who witnessed the incident, and offered them support or time off if they needed.
“To come to work and experience what they did is not nice for anyone,” he said. “We have spoken to all our staff and offered any help or counseling or any time off work but they all want to get back into the business.
“We are a close knit team and we will stick together. Pemberton is a very close knit community and this is probably one of the biggest bars and I think everyone within the bar is supporting each other and sticking together.”
Ryan Jackson, 27, and Shannon Corbett, 26, live together in a flat directly opposite the pub on the busy road. “I heard an almighty bang and ran to the window and could the lamppost rocking,” said Ryan.
“There was a man lying down in the middle of the road and a woman on the pavement. Then we saw two lads jump out of the car and run away down the alley. But some blokes ran after them and pinned one of them to the ground. There were lots of people helping. I’m sure I saw a girl get out of the back of the car and run away.”
Shannon said: “The police arrived really quickly, followed by the fire brigade and then the ambulance. It’s really said that the woman didn’t make it. She had three kids, we’re told.”
Local resident Gary Caunter, 54, said the Fifteens pub had been extremely busy since the nearby White Swan had closed for refurbishment. “People congregate outside to smoke and chat,” he said. The road is extremely busy. They were just so unlucky that they were there at the point when that car came along and hit them.”
PC Oliver Batty, from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Our thoughts are with the woman’s family who are understandably devastated by the circumstances of how their loved one has lost their life.
“We immediately launched an investigation into the circumstances and the road has been closed for some time whilst we carried out a number of inquiries.
“We’re keen to hear from anyone who may have any information or dash-cam footage that may be able to assist with our investigation and give the woman’s family the answers they deserve. In particular, anyone who may have seen a silver Land Rover Freelander in the area of Ormskirk Road in the minutes leading up to this incident is urged to contact us.
“Anyone with information is asked to call 0161 856 4741 or report it online or via LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk.”