Orachorn loses appeal in expressway crash that killed 9

The criminal phase of the case against the teenager driver who caused an expressway crash that killed nine people in 2010 has ended, but a 120-million baht civil case is likely to follow

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This iconic photo taken right after the 2010 Don Muang Tollway collision was taken by a passing motorist, and immediately formed the public's opinion of Orachorn "Praewa" Thephasadin na Ayudhya. (File photo)

Tollway horror crash driver loses last appeal

Post Reporters

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal against two lower court rulings that imposed a suspended prison term against a teenage driver, now 21, who caused an expressway crash that killed nine people in 2010.

The Supreme Court decision was read out in the Central Juvenile and Family Court in Bangkok Monday.

The appeal was filed by the girl, who claimed a lack of intent, but the court ruled the appeal covered no new ground.

The accident occurred on Dec 27, 2010 when Orachorn "Praewa" Thephasadin na Ayudhya, who was then 17, crashed into the back of a passenger van on the Don Muang elevated tollway.

Most of the crash victims were in this van, which collided with Praewa's car Dec 27, 2010. Eight people died and seven badly injured inside the passenger van.

The van, heading for Victory Monument from Thammasat University's Rangsit campus, hit a barrier near the Bang Khen exit. The passengers were thrown from the vehicle and onto the road below.

Orachorn was charged with not having a licence, reckless driving causing deaths and injuries and using a mobile phone while driving. She was indicted in June 2011.

On Aug 31, 2012 the Central Juvenile and Family Court found her guilty of the first charge and sentenced her to three years. The prison term was commuted to two years, and suspended for three years because she cooperated with investigators.

The court ordered her to report to probation officials every three months for three years and banned her from driving until she is 25. The court dismissed the charge of using a mobile phone while driving due to lack of evidence.

Orachorn took the case to the Appeal Court, which on April 22, 2014 upheld the two-year jail term, but extended the probation period from three to four years. The court also ordered her to do 48 hours of community service a year for four years.

Issariya Thanachawal, a lawyer representing the victims' families, said she will use the Supreme Court's ruling to file a civil suit seeking 120 million baht in damages.

Thongpoon Panthong, mother of the passenger van driver, plans a civil lawsuit against Orachorn, who never has shown remorse. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Thongpoon Panthong, the mother of van driver, Niramol Pitatanang, said she accepted the court's ruling.

"We wanted the case over quickly. So far, we have never been contacted by Orachorn. She has never uttered a word to us," she said.

Related search: Orachorn "Praewa" Thephasadin na Ayudhya, van crash, Don Muang Tollway

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Online Editor of Learning & Education