Drink-driving killer given 2 years, bailed

Drink-driving killer given 2 years, bailed

Flashback: Cyclists Saman Kantha, 62, Chaiwat Yonglan, 63, both from Chiang Mai, and Pongthep Khamkaew, 40, from Chiang Rai, were killed on May 3, 2015 when Patchuda Jayruan ploughed into them while driving drunk. (File photo by Chewin Sattha)
Flashback: Cyclists Saman Kantha, 62, Chaiwat Yonglan, 63, both from Chiang Mai, and Pongthep Khamkaew, 40, from Chiang Rai, were killed on May 3, 2015 when Patchuda Jayruan ploughed into them while driving drunk. (File photo by Chewin Sattha)

The drink-driver who killed three Chiang Mai cyclists and injured four others last May was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison and ordered to pay 2.1 million baht to the two bereaved families.

Immediately after the twin rulings, Patchuda Jayruan, 24, submitted a bail request to appeal the court's decision. The court approved her request.

Patchuda appeared before the Chiang Mai Provincial Court to hear rulings in both the criminal drink-driving case, and civil lawsuits seeking 4 million baht in damages for each family of the dead cyclists.

The court commuted the sentence to two years due to Patchuda's confession and revoked her driving licence and drastically cut the requested compensation by nearly two-thirds.

Phatchuda was charged with reckless driving causing death and injury after she ploughed her car into members of the San Sai cycling club on Highway 118 at dawn on May 3, 2015. She was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, beyond the legal limit of 50mg per 100ml.

The three cyclists killed were Saman Kantha, 62, Chaiwat Yonglan, 63, both from Chiang Mai, and Pongthep Khamkaew, 40, from Chiang Rai.

The court also ordered Phatchuda to pay 1.7 million baht in compensation to the wife of Saman and another 435,000 baht to the parents of Pongthep. It dismissed the civil suit in Chaiwat's case in which his daughters sought to receive compensation in lieu of their father's pension, which was terminated due to his death.     

The victims' families have received 1.2 million baht each from the Mittare insurance company.

Kongkarn Yonglan, Chaiwat's daughter, said the two-year jail sentence could not compensate the loss of the three innocent lives, but she respected the court's decision.

She said Patchuda paid 100,000 baht to each of the families for funeral expenses, over and above payments from the insurance company. Ms Kongkarn said the driver had never paid a visit or apologised to her family since the accident.

She appealed to all motorists to strictly comply with traffic laws and never drive while under the influence of alcohol.

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