Court rejects murder charges

Court rejects murder charges

Drink-driving businessman in fatal accident to be hit with reckless driving, inflicting injuries

The Taling Chan Court yesterday rejected the murder and attempted murder charges filed against the drink-driving businessman who killed a police officer and his wife, and injured their daughter in a head-on collision in Bangkok's Thawi Watthana district late on Thursday night.

Police had pressed both murder charges in line with the government's new policy to curb the traffic death toll during the Songkran festival.

The Taling Chan Court ordered police at Sala Daeng station to exclude the two charges and keep others -- reckless driving causing death, inflicting serious injuries, property damage and drink-driving causing death, injuries and property damage -- for accused Somchai Werotepipat.

Mr Somchai, 57, owner of Thai Carbon & Graphite Co, appeared drunk after crashing his silver Mercedes-Benz E250 with the licence plate number Sor Hor 789 into the white Suzuki Swift belonging to 48-year-old Pol Lt Col Chatuporn Ngamsuwittchakun of the Crime Suppression Division.

The head-on collision happened on Thawi Watthana-Kanchanaphisek Road at 11.30pm on Thursday. The suspect's blood alcohol measured 260mg/dL just after the crash.

The policeman was killed instantly in the driver's seat. His wife later succumbed to wounds and died while their 16-year-old daughter suffered serious brain haemorrhaging. Mr Somchai was not wounded but has some leg pain.

Police said yesterday Mr Somchai had been practising golf and drinking beer at a golf driving range before the accident.

His Mercedes-Benz veered into the opposite lane on Thawi Watthana-Kanchanaphisek Road and crashed into the Suzuki that the victims were travelling in.

The court approved a 12-day detention extension of the suspect pending interrogation, autopsies and other inquiries, but later approved a 200,000-baht bail request submitted by Mr Somchai's relative.

His elder brother Ratanachai Werotepipat yesterday apologised for the incident and promised his family would take full responsibility for the damage.


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