Red Bull heir may face manslaughter charge
Krating Daeng managing director Worrayuth Yoovidhya may face a charge of manslaughter over the hit-and-run crash that killed a Thong Lor policeman, Deputy Premier Chalerm Yoobamrung and senior police said yesterday.Pol Maj General Anuchai Lekbamrung, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said Worrayuth, a grandson of billionaire businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya, may be charged with manslaughter depending on evidence.
Worrayuth allegedly drove a grey Ferrari that hit Pol Snr Sgt Major Wichean Klinprasert, who was riding his motorcycle on patrol duty early on Monday morning.
Wichean's body and motorcycle were dragged for 50 to 60 metres as the car failed to stop. Eyewitnesses said it sped into Worrayuth's luxury house off Sukhumvit Soi 53, not far from the scene of the fatal accident between Sois 47 and 49.
Anuchai said police would deal with Worrayuth straightforwardly, based on evidence and witnesses.
He said Worrayuth had so far been charged with reckless driving causing death and reckless driving causing death without providing help to the victim and informing authorities.
Chalerm said a fatal accident may be unavoidable - but police wondered why Worrayuth failed to stop and dragged the body for so far. He said the Supreme Court had ruled in the past that a driver, who dragged a body for such a distance, was guilty of attempted murder.
"When he hit the motorcycle, it was not known whether the victim was dead - but when he dragged the body for 200 metres more, the intention changed," Chalerm said.
Worrayuth claimed the policeman abruptly cut in front of his Ferrari, meaning he could not stop or swerve to avoid the crash.
However, Anuchai said, feeds from a security camera showed Worrayuth was speeding toward Ekkamai, and crashed directly into the rear of the victim's motorcycle. Experts had yet to establish the estimated speed of the Ferrari. There was no security camera at the crash site, he said, only clips of the officer riding past the camera and of the speeding Ferrari.
The deputy Metropolitan Police chief said police were waiting for results of a blood alcohol level test on Worrayuth to determine whether to lay drunk driving charges against him.
Anuchai denied that police tried to help Worrayuth by testing his blood alcohol level in the afternoon although the accident happened early in the morning. He said the test was conducted later in the day because investigators conducted several tests, including collecting DNA samples and fingerprints inside the Ferrari car.
"We have tried to collect the most evidence. We will definitely help the suspect but we will deal with the case based on evidence," Anuchai said.
He said Suwet Hom-ubol, the chauffeur and aide of Worrayuth, would also face charges for making a false statement claiming he drove the Ferrari when it killed the policeman.
Anuchai said Thong Lor crime suppression inspector Pol Lt Colonel Pannaphol Nammueng faces a probe for getting Suwet to pretend to be the suspect in the fatal hit-and-run case.
Thong Lor police chief Pol Col Chumpol Pumpuang said Pannaphol was close to Worayuth's family and he might face both disciplinary and criminal action following an investigation.
Metropolitan Police chief Lt Gen Khamronwit Thoopkrajang said he ordered the probe against Pannaphol be completed by tomorrow. He said a senior person called him not act against Pannaphol but he ignored the request.
Chalerm said he was the person who didn't believe Suwet's claim he drove the car, so he asked police to interrogate him until he admitted he was lying. He said Pannaphol would definitely face more than secondment to an inactive post.