Drunk police doctor who crashed Porsche killing 2 in Thailand avoids prison for now

Today, Thon Buri Provincial Court sentenced a police doctor to three years imprisonment and a fine of 101,000 baht for speeding and drink-driving in his Porsche, causing a crash that killed two people and seriously injured one more person in Bangkok back in August 2021.

However, although the defendant pleaded guilty on all counts, the court suspended his punishment for two years, leaving him a free man for now. After two years, the court will reconvene again. If he is well-behaved, the possibility exists that he will avoid prison completely.

On August 29 last year, Pl. Lt. Dr Panurak drove his Porsche Cayenne SUV into the back of a Honda City car on the outbound Ratchaphruek Road outside Bang Wa BTS Station in Phasi Charoen district. The two passengers, a male and a female, were both killed in the crash. The female driver was seriously injured.

The police doctor was drunk and exceeded the speed limit by 80 kilometres per hour.

Last year, Ms Pongpetch Siri-issaranan, who was injured in the crash, and three more plaintiffs filed a case against Panurak, a serving doctor at the Police Hospital.

Initially, the court sentenced Pl. Lt. Dr Panurak [surname reserved] to six years in prison, a fine of 202,000 baht, and two years probation for driving while intoxicated, speeding and driving a car with a red registration plate outside of the hours specified by law causing death. The court halved the sentence and fine because the defendant pleaded guilty and gave a “useful testimony.”

However, the court then suspended the sentence for two more years. After two years, the court will reconvene again. If he is well-behaved, maybe he will not be imprisoned at all.

The court revoked the defendant’s driving license and ordered him to conduct 30 hours of community service. The court ordered Panurak to pay damages of 1,500,000 to the first plaintiff, 2,000,000 to the second plaintiff, and 200,000 each to the third and four plaintiffs.

In total, the damages paid by Panurak to the families of the deceased amount to just half of what Porsche is worth.

The Honda City driver who was injured in the crash, Phongphet, said she still has not healed more than a year after the crash. Phongphet criticised the Thai justice system for allowing fatal road accidents caused by drink-driving to continue in Thailand.

After hearing the court’s verdict today, the son of the deceased plans to appeal the case. He believes the doctor’s sentence should be higher and he should go straight to prison, citing the fact the defendant had always denied any wrongdoing in the case until today when he pleaded guilty.

The day after the crash, Pol. Maj. Gen. Piya Tawichai said the doctor would receive no special favours and the court would proceed according to evidence.

Bangkok NewsCrime NewsRoad deathsThailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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