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2010 road crash victims' kin await final verdict

THE RELATIVES of the people killed in a 2010 tollway accident hope the criminal proceedings against an underage driver - who has already been found guilty by two courts - will end soon so civil proceedings can resume.

The relatives have been demanding Bt120 million in total from the young defendant, whose reckless driving killed nine people and injured several others.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict against the defendant and prescribed a slightly harsher sentence, though it was still a suspended jail term.

The Civil Court had initially dropped the compensation lawsuits, citing the need for the case to be backed by a final ruling related to criminal conviction by the Central Juvenile and Family Court.

"I want Bt19 million in compensation. Though it will never pay for my son's life, this amount is based on the income my son would have earned had he been alive," Tawil Chaotiang said yesterday.

Her only son was a PhD holder.

Also killed in the accident was a fourth-year student of Thammasat University, whose father Pol Colonel Saran Nilwan showed up in the courtroom yesterday.

"We have to wait for the criminal conviction to become final before we continue with the civil lawsuits," Saran said, adding that it appeared as if the defendant intended to drag the case on for as long as possible.

"In fact, we had decided not to appeal if the defendant did not appeal the lower court's verdict," Saran said, adding that he had heard that the defendant now planned |to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The defendant was 17 at the time of the accident in 2010 - below the legal age limit for driving.

While on the tollway, her sedan banged into a public-transport van causing it to spin, overturn and hurl several people, including the female van driver, over the edge of the elevated tollway.

Nine passengers were killed and several others were seriously injured.

The girl survived the incident without a scratch.



Suspended jail sentence, community service

Last year, the court found the girl guilty of reckless driving that resulted in deaths and property damage.

It handed down a two-year jail term that was suspended for three years, ordered her to do 48 hours of community service and barred her from driving until she turns 25.

The Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the guilty verdict, ordered the jail term to be suspended for four years, required her to complete 48 hours of community service every year for four years and imposed a similar driving ban.




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