Benz driver likely to avoid drink-driving charge (Updated)

Benz driver likely to avoid drink-driving charge (Updated)

The burned out remains of the Ford hatchback in which two graduate students died after being hit by a Mercedes-Benz travelling in excess of 150km/hour.  CHANAT KATANYU
The burned out remains of the Ford hatchback in which two graduate students died after being hit by a Mercedes-Benz travelling in excess of 150km/hour. CHANAT KATANYU

The driver of a Mercedes-Benz involved in a high-speed crash on Sunday in Ayutthaya that killed two post-graduate students will likely be spared a drink-driving charge, as questions arise about the handling of the investigation.

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Saturday update

Benz driver likely to avoid drink-driving charge

POST REPORTERS

The driver of a Mercedes-Benz involved in a high-speed crash on Sunday in Ayutthaya that killed two post-graduate students will likely be spared a drink-driving charge, as questions arise about the handling of the investigation.

Janepob Veeraporn, 37, the driver of the Mercedes with Sor Ngor 3333 licence plates, was apparently not tested for drugs and alcohol immediately after the crash, which was recorded by another vehicle's dashcam, and this could see him charged with a lesser offence.

Deputy national police chief Pongsapat Pongcharoen, who was assigned by the national police chief to monitor the progress of the investigation, said on Friday that Mr Janepob will be charged with obstruction of justice for refusing to undergo an alcohol and drug test.

A charge of recklessness causing death is subject to a maximum jail term of 10 years but does not come with a minimum prison sentence, meaning an offender can walk away doing just community service.

A charge of drink-driving causing death, however, calls for a jail term of between three and 10 years.

According to Pol Gen Pongsapat, investigators asked the hospital to take a blood sample from the suspect for an alcohol and drug test, but the suspect refused because he was about to be transferred to another hospital in Bangkok.

Provincial Police Region 1 has replaced the investigation team and also transferred Pol Col Pongpat Suksawat, superintendent of Phra-in Racha police station, and Pol Lt Col Somsak Polpankhang, who was in charge of the case, to the operations centre at the bureau for 15 days.

Friday's stories

The charred remains of the Ford after it was rear-ended by Mr Janepob's car and burst into flames, killing Kritsana Thaworn, 32, and Thantapat Horsangchai, 34. SOONTHORN PONGPAO (Inset from dashcam footage)

The case of the speeding Mercedes Benz involved in the death of two promising university graduate students has been the hot topic in Thai social media over the past few days, with netizens criticising the police investigation, worried that yet another young man from a rich family would not face punishment.

Our online news team reported last night that senior provincial police in Ayutthaya have now been ordered to take over the investigation. Two panels have been set up, one to deal with the deadly collision and another "to find out why Phra-in Racha police had dithered over the case."

The speeding Benz is caught on a dashcam an instant before colliding with the Ford while travelling at a speed estimated at between 150 - 200km/hour.

A big reason the case has received so much attention is a video clip taken from the dashcam of another car which clearly shows the Benz colliding with a second car at extremely high speed. You can see it here. (The date on the footage is wrong.)

Afternoon update

The driver of the Mercedes Benz definitely had a problem Sunday before smashing his car in the sedan. Here is the latest from our online reporters. Watch the third vehicle in the video.

Benz crashed through tollgate before deadly smash

Online reporters

Security camera footage shows that a Mercedes-Benz crashed through the expressway tollgate near Rama 4 plaza about an hour before ramming into a sedan in Bang Pa-In district of Ayutthaya on Sunday, killing two university graduates, according to reports in Thai media.

New TV station aired the footage, which shows a black car driving through the automatic tollgate without waiting for the barrier to lift up, and speeding away.

The toll collector recorded the licence plate number of the vehicle, which matched the plates on the Mercedes-Benz that caused the fatal accident about one hour later, the report said.

Driver confesses to deadly collision, cops say

Anxiety, depression meds found in car

Post Reporters

A driver yesterday confessed to reckless driving after he allegedly killed two graduate students in a horrific traffic accident in Ayutthaya province on Sunday, police said.

Janepob Veeraporn, 37, a luxury car import company heir, yesterday admitted that his reckless driving killed the students.

His confession came after more than three hours of questioning by Pol Lt Col Somsak Pholphankhang, inspector at Phra-in Racha police station, at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital in Bangkok where he was admitted yesterday.

The suspect regained full consciousness shortly before the interview, he said.

The charge was brought against Mr Janepob after a sedan with two people on board was hit at high speed by Mr Janepob's Mercedes-Benz on Phahon Yothin Road at Bang Pa-in interchange in Bang Pa-in district on Sunday.

Mr Janepob sustained injuries to his knees while the two students died after being trapped inside their vehicle which had been engulfed by flames caused by the collision.

A rescue worker checks the overturned Mercedes-Benz driven by Janepob Veeraporn after the high-speed accident last Sunday that killed two university students. SOONTHORN PONGPAO

The victims were later identified as Kritsana Thaworn and Thanthaphat Horsaengchai. Both were pursuing Master's degrees at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University's Faculty of Buddhism in Ayutthaya.

A post-mortem examination was conducted on the victims to determine if the cause of death had been the collision or the ensuing fire.

In Mr Janepob's vehicle, police also found a medicine bag containing Lexapro, a drug used to treat anxiety and depression. Drowsiness is one of the side effects of the drug.

The name of the suspect was found on the medicine bag. The drug was issued by the Somdet Chaopraya Institute of Psychiatry on March 3.

The inspector assured that charges would be brought against Mr Janepob as the collision was captured by cameras from other vehicles that were transiting by the scene of the crash.

Police will also check Mr Janepob's records to determine if he has been involved in any prior traffic incidents. Police were unable to question him earlier as he was receiving treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Pol Lt Col Somsak insisted police will ensure fairness during their investigation.

Phra-in Racha police station chief Pongphat Sooksawat said police are now investigating whether the suspect took the medicine found in his vehicle before driving.

The station chief said police also coordinated with the hospital to conduct a blood alcohol test on Mr Janepob.

The test was not conducted on the suspect right after the accident as he was injured and needed emergency treatment.

Pol Col Pongphat's explanation came after netizens slammed the initial police investigation, saying the offender could escape justice as he came from a well-to-do family.

Meanwhile, Jessada Veeraporn, the suspect's father who runs the company importing luxury vehicles, admitted his son had been involved in a couple of road accidents before.

Mr Jessada attended funeral rites for both victims to apologise to their families.

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Vocabulary

  • admitted (verb): (of a hospital) accepted for medical treatment - รับ, ให้เข้า, การรับเข้า, อนุญาตให้เข้า
  • admitted (verb): agreed that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ
  • air: to broadcast; to send out a programme on television or radio - ออกอากาศ, กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
  • allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
  • anxiety: an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future - ความวิตกกังวล
  • apologise: to say you are sorry for doing something wrong or for causing a problem - ขอโทษ
  • assign: to give a person a particular task or position - มอบหมาย, สั่งงาน
  • assure: to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen - ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
  • attention: interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc - ความสนใจ
  • avoid: to stay away from; to not use - หลีกเลี่ยง
  • barrier: a bar or gate that stops people, animals or vehicles from entering a place - สิ่งกีดขวางทางผ่าน
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated, especially by the police - คดี
  • cause: the person or thing that makes something happen - สาเหตุ
  • charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ
  • collide: (especially of moving objects) to hit something violently - ชน,กระแทก
  • collision: two or more objects hitting each other - การชนกัน
  • community service (noun): work helping people in the local community that somebody does without being paid, either because they want to, or because they have been ordered to by a court as a punishment - บริการชุมชน (งานแทนโทษ)
  • conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
  • confesses: admits that you have done something wrong or something that you feel guilty or bad about - สารภาพผิด
  • confession: admitting that you have done something wrong or illegal - การสารภาพผิด
  • coordinate: to organise the different parts of a job or plan so that the people involved work together effectively - ประสานงานกัน
  • cop: (informal) a police officer - ตำรวจ (คำสแลง)
  • couple of: a few, a small number of - จำนวนไม่มาก, จำนวนน้อย
  • crash (noun): collision, accident - การชน
  • criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
  • dashcam (noun): a small video camera installed inside a motor vehicle which records the road ahead as it is moving. -
  • deadly (adj): causing or likely to cause death - เป็นอันตรายถึงตายได้
  • depression: a medical condition in which a person is so unhappy that they cannot live a normal life - ความสะเทือนใจ, ความเศร้าสลด, ความหดหู่
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • determine: to discover something by examining evidence to or calculate something - กำหนด, ระบุ, แสดงผล
  • dither (verb): to hesitate about what to do because you are unable to decide - ลังเล
  • drink-driving (noun): driving a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol (American: drunk-driving) - ขับรถในขณะเมาเหล้า
  • drowsiness: a feeling that you want to sleep - เซื่องซึม, เกือบจะหลับ, ง่วงซึม
  • emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน
  • engulfed: covered or surrounded by something harmful, in this case, fire - ปกคลุม
  • ensuing: following - ที่ตามมา
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ
  • extremely (adv.): very; to a very high degree อย่างสุดขีด, อย่างมาก, อย่างยิ่ง - อย่างสุดขีด, อย่างมาก, อย่างยิ่ง
  • faculty: a group of departments in a college or university which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects - คณะ
  • fairness (noun): the quality of treating people equally or in a way that is reasonable - ความเป็นธรรม
  • fatal: causing someone to die - ถึงตาย
  • flames: the brightly burning gases that you see coming from a fire - เปลวไฟ, เปลวเพลิง
  • footage: film or video of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
  • funeral: a ceremony that takes place after someone dies - งานศพ
  • graduate student: a student studying for a master's degree or a doctorate - นักศึกษาบัณฑิตศึกษา, นักศึกษาปริญญาโท/ปริญญาเอก
  • handling (noun): dealing with a problem, situation, etc. - การควบคุมดูแล, การจัดการ
  • heir: a person who will legally receive money, property or a title from another person, especially an older member of the same family, when that other person dies - ทายาท, ผู้สืบสกุล, ผู้รับมรดก
  • horrific: so shocking that it upsets you - น่าขนลุก
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • immediately (adv): happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที
  • import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า
  • in charge of (verb): to manage and be in control of a group of people and make sure they do their work or behave correctly - ที่อยู่ในความรับผิดชอบในหน้าที่
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • injury (noun): physical damage done to a person or a part of their body - อาการบาดเจ็บ
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • inspector: an officer of middle rank in the police force - สารวัตร
  • instant (noun): a particular point in time; a very short period of time - ชั่วพริบตา
  • intensive care: the department of a hospital for people who are so ill or badly injured that they need to have special medical care and be watched very closely - ห้องดูแลผู้ป่วยหนักในโรงพยาบาล
  • interchange: a place where different roads, highways or expressways connect; a place where you change from one road to another -
  • interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์
  • investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something - การสอบสวน
  • investigator: someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something, especially a crime or accident - ตำรวจฝ่ายสอบสวนคดีอาชญากรรม
  • involved (verb): taking part or having a role in something - เกี่ยวข้อง, มีบทบาท
  • issue: to give or provide something official - แจกจ่าย
  • jail term: the length of time a person is required to spend in jail -
  • justice: a fair result or punishment from a court of law - ความยุติธรรม
  • knee: the joint between the top and bottom parts of the leg where it bends in the middle - หัวเข่า
  • lesser (adj): to a smaller degree than other people or things of the same kind - น้อยกว่า,เล็กน้อย
  • licence plate: a flat piece of metal or plastic on the front and back of a vehicle that shows its license number - แผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถยนต์
  • likely: probable or expected - น่าจะเป็นไปได้
  • luxury: the best and most expensive of something - ที่หรูหรา 
  • master's degree: a further university degree that you study for after a first degree - ระดับปริญญาโท
  • maximum: the most possible - ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • meds (noun): (informal) medicines or drugs used to improve a particular condition or illness - ยารักษาโรค
  • minimum: the lowest possible; the lowest allowed - ต่ำที่สุด, น้อยที่สุด
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • netizen: a person who uses the Internet a lot - พลเมืองเครือข่ายคอมพิวเตอร์
  • obstruction (noun): the fact of trying to prevent something/somebody from making progress - การขัดขวาง
  • offence: a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
  • offender: a person who is guilty of a crime - ผู้กระทำความผิด
  • on board: on a ship, aircraft or vehicle - บนหรือใน (เรือ, รถ, เครื่องบินหรือพาหนะอื่น)
  • overturn: to turn upside down or on the side - พลิกคว่ำ, คว่ำลง
  • panel: a group of people who make decisions or judgments - คณะกรรมการ
  • post-mortem: a medical examination of the body of a dead person in order to find out how they died - การชันสูตร
  • prior: before - ก่อนหน้า
  • progress: the process of developing or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something - ความคืบหน้า
  • promising: likely to be successful or very good - มีอนาคตดี,มีความหวัง
  • provincial (adj): related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country - ประจำจังหวัด, ส่วนท้องถิ่น
  • psychiatry (noun): the study and treatment of mental illness - จิตเวชศาสตร์
  • punishment: an act or a way of punishing somebody - การลงโทษ
  • pursue: to try to achieve something - ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง
  • ram: to hit or push something with force - กระแทก
  • reckless: not thinking about the possible bad effects of your actions - สะเพร่า
  • recklessness: doing something dangerous and not worrying about the risks and the possible results - ความชะล่าใจ,ความเสี่ยง,ความไม่ยั้งคิด
  • record: a written account of something that is kept so that it can be looked at and used in the future - บันทึก, รายงาน
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • regained consciousness: became aware of your surroundings after having been asleep, especially from an injury - ได้สติ, ฟื้น
  • replace: to put a new person or thing in the place of someone or something - แทน
  • rescue worker: a person who save someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ผู้ช่วยชีวิต
  • rite: a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one - พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)
  • sample: a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests - ตัวอย่างทดลอง
  • scene: site; a place where something happens or happened - สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
  • security camera footage: video from a camera that is put in a place to constantly record what happens there - ภาพหรือหนังในเทปวิดีโอจากกล้องวงจรปิดเพื่อรักษาการความปลอดภัย
  • sedan: a closed car with a front and back seat for  passengers - รถยนต์ส่วนบุคคลสี่ประตู
  • senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส
  • sentence : a punishment given by a court of law - การตัดสินลงโทษ
  • side effects (noun): unpleasant effects of a drug that happen in addition to the main effect - ผลข้างเคียง
  • slammed: strongly criticised - วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
  • spare: to prevent someone from having to experience something unpleasant - ละเว้น, งดเว้น, ยกโทษให้,อภัยโทษ
  • subject to: to require something to be done; to make somebody/something experience, suffer or be affected by something, usually something unpleasant - ต้องมีการ..., ทำให้ได้รับ
  • superintendent: a senior police officer - เจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจระดับสูง
  • suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
  • sustain: to experience, injury, damage, loss, etc. - ประสบกับ (ความสูญเสีย การเจ็บป่วย)
  • toll (noun): the amount of money that a person must pay to travel on a special road or "tollway". -
  • topic: a subject that you talk, write or learn about - เรื่อง, หัวข้อ
  • transfer: to move someone or something from one place, vehicle, person or group to another - ย้าย
  • transit (verb): to from one place to another - เดินทางผ่าน
  • trapped : to be unable to leave a place - ถูกกับดัก
  • treatment: the process of providing medical care - การรักษา
  • undergo (verb): to go through a procedure, such as a test, a training programme, a medical operation, etc. - ได้รับ, ประสบ, ผ่าน
  • victims : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
  • well-to-do: wealthy - ที่มั่งคั่ง ร่ำรวย
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