Police today revealed that the Bentley driver who caused a three-car crash was not only under the influence of alcohol but drugs were also found in his system.
Police confirmed to the media that a drug test discovered methamphetamine and another unidentified narcotic in his blood system. More updates are expected to be announced this evening.
The Bentley driver, Suthat Siwapiromrat, was charged with driving recklessly and under the influence of alcohol after he crashed his luxury car into an SUV and a fire rescue pickup on Sunday, January 8.
The 53 year old was expected to be temporarily imprisoned at the Bangkok South Criminal Court yesterday but he was granted bail at 100,000 baht.
According to media reports this morning, he paid about 900,000 baht in compensation to each of the crash victims. All parties involved agreed on the compensation and it seemed like the episode had drawn to a conclusion.
However, Channel 3 reported this afternoon that the Police General Hospital found drugs in Suthat’s blood.
The media contacted Metropolitan Police Bureau Deputy Commissioner Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek to confirm the finding and he acknowledged that the hospital did indeed find illegal substances in his blood.
Jirasan confirmed that the first substance was methamphetamine, adding that the hospital was trying to identify the other drug.
He reported that the police inspector has been informed to contact Suthat and invite him to acknowledge one more charge, driving under the influence of drugs.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau will hold a press conference tonight to provide more details to the media.
UPDATE: Bentley driver charged with drunk driving granted bail at 100,000 baht
Under pressure police finally charged a Bentley driver with drunk driving for causing a three-car crash. After much public criticism and deliberation, police charged the driver because he refused to take a breathalyser test in the first place. The driver was reported to have been granted bail of 100,000 baht yesterday.
Suthat Siwapiromrat, the millionaire Bentley driver who caused the three-car collision on an expressway in Bangkok last Sunday, was initially charged with driving recklessly.
The issue over Suthat’s alcohol level started after a wine bottle was spotted in his car. He refused to take a breathalyser test at the police station saying he had pain in the chest and could not blow.
Suthat finally took a test at a hospital. The alcohol content in his system was released by the hospital yesterday, almost three days after the incident. It showed only 0.01%, which means he was not drunk while driving on that day according to Thai law.
The deputy commissioner and spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, announced the conclusion of the charges against Suthat yesterday.
Jirasan confirmed that Suthat was charged under Section 43(2) of the Criminal Law: driving under the influence of alcohol.
Jirasan explained that Suthat’s blood alcohol content was under the limit, but he refused to take the breathalyser test after the incident. So, Suthat has been considered drunk according to standard police practice.
In conclusion, Suthat faces three charges including:
- Section 43(4) and Section 157 of the Land Transport Act: whoever drives recklessly or dangerously, and that action causes damage to another person’s assets, shall be punished with a fine from 400 baht to 1,000 baht
- Section 390 of the Criminal Law: whoever drives recklessly and causes injuries to another person’s body or mind shall be punished with imprisonment up to one month, a fine up to 10,000 baht, or both
- Section 43(2) of the Criminal Law: whoever drives under the influence of alcohol, and the action causes injuries to another person’s body or mind shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years, a fine of 20,000 to 100,000 baht, and driving licence suspension for at least one year
Suthat was taken to the Bangkok South Criminal Court for temporary imprisonment before he submitted a request for temporary release and was granted bail at 100,000 baht.
Suthat gave an interview with Channel 3 yesterday. He admitted that he drank one or two glasses of sparkling champagne with friends before driving but says he was not drunk at all. He added that the wine bottle found in his car was empty.
Suthat insists that he did not try to avoid the alcohol test. He said he had a pain in his chest and, because everything was in chaos, planned to go back for the test when it was less busy.
Update: Bentley driver cleared of being drunk at the wheel in three-car smash
The blood alcohol test of the Bentley driver, who caused a three-car collision last Sunday, reveals he was not drunk at the time of the pile-up. But, the investigating officer from Expressway Police Station 1 has been criticised for not making the driver take a breathalyser test immediately after the incident.
Suthat Siwapiromrat crashed his grey Bentley sedan into a fire rescue truck and black Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV last Sunday at 11pm. The incident left six drivers and passengers injured.
The 53 year old businessman later surrendered to the police on the night of the smash but officers did not ask the driver to take a breathalyser test despite a bottle of wine being found in his Bentley sedan.
The deputy superintendent of Expressway Police Station 1, Phichate Konpaeng, reported to the media that the driver would take a blood alcohol test at the hospital.
This decision made the victims and other Thai netizens question the working processes of the police. Some said the officers facilitated the Bentley driver because he is rich and powerful.
Thai media also released a video into the public domain of when Suthat tried to stall for time and avoid the test. They reported he was drinking a lot of water and chewing bubble gum to hide traces of alcohol in his system.
The commissioner of the Traffic Police Division, Suwitcha Jindakam, reported yesterday that he acknowledged the concerns of victims and other people about the alcohol test.
Suwitcha said the division would investigate the officer in charge of the case from Expressway Police Station 1, whether he worked honestly according to the process or not, and question why the test had not been conducted immediately after the incident.
The deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, explained later that the police did not help the driver.
Jirasan said the Bentley driver had a chest injury and it would have been difficult for him to blow into a breathalyser. The investigating police officer thought the result would be more accurate if he took a blood test.
According to Channel 3, the Police General Hospital’s alcohol test result was released today, and the alcohol content in Suthat’s blood revealed only 0.01% or 10 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers in Thailand is 0.05%, so it was concluded that Suthat was not drunk while driving.
The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborative Centre, Dr Witthaya Chartbanchachai, revealed via an interview with Channel 3 that a breathalyser testing device is accurate even with a very mild blow. So, the pain in the chest should not be a problem.
Witthaya said that it takes a human body two hours to metabolize 40 milligrams of alcohol. The driver of the Bentley was tested approximately four hours after the accident, so it was anticipated that the alcohol level would have decreased to half of the initial measurement.
Witthaya also noted that the police officers usually considered a driver as being under the influence if they refused to take a breath alcohol test, but this practice appears to be different in this particular case.
The charges and conclusion of the case will be announced later by the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
ORIGINAL STORY: 6 victims injured after Bentley crashes into two cars
A millionaire driver crashed his luxury Bentley car into an SUV and a fire rescue pickup on the Chalerm Maha Nakhon Expressway in Bangkok in the early hours of Sunday, which left six victims injured. The driver fled from the scene and refused to take an alcohol test.
A 53 year old businessman, Suthat Siwapiromrat, crashed his grey Bentley sedan into a fire rescue truck and a black Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV after he tried to overtake the two cars on the Chalerm Maha Nakhon Expressway at 1am yesterday, January 8.
One driver and three passengers from the SUV, including a four-year-old child, as well as two firefighters from the fire rescue pickup, were injured. One of the SUV victims suffered a broken arm while the others escaped with minor injuries.
Thai media added that the crash consequently made the firefighters late to tackle a blaze in the Sukhumvit area.
CCTV on the road revealed that Suthat took a taxi and fled the accident scene. The rescuers ran after the taxi, tried to stop him, and demanded he took an alcohol test. He said he was not drunk and left the scene.
The rescue team also informed the media that they found an opened bottle of wine in Suthat’s car.
The deputy superintendent of Expressway Police Station 1, Phichate Konpaeng, gave an interview with the media yesterday. He said the suspect, Suthat, later surrendered himself to the police and is willing to compensate the victims.
Phichate said Suthat was initially charged with violating Section 43(4) and Section 157 of the Land Transport Act: whoever drives recklessly or dangerously, and that action causes damage to another person’s assets, shall be punished with a fine from 400 baht to 1,000 baht.
Suthat was also charged with violating Section 390 of the Criminal Law: whoever drives recklessly and causes injuries to another person’s body or mind shall be punished with imprisonment up to one month, a fine up to 10,000 baht, or both.
The deputy superintendent reported Suthat would undergo a blood test to measure his alcohol level at the hospital. If it is proven he was drunk, police would issue more charges against Suthat.
The victims and Thai netizens were worried that the suspect would use his power and money to escape the charges and pressured the police and relevant departments to process the case transparently.
Thai media reported that Suthat was on the executive board of seven companies in Thailand including two estate agents, including Thaiwattana Asset and Ektaveesin Development, one instant food production named Touch Me Food, three construction material retail companies including Benefit Development, Maga Work Corporation, and Max Trade, and one fresh market operator named Hatairat Complex.