The reckless pickup driver who knocked down a British man on a pedestrian crossing in a hit-and-run incident surrendered to police and visited the victim to apologise.
The driver, 61 year old Maethanat Leeliang, gave himself up to the police after the hit-and-run incident in Pattaya. Maethanat told police he was unaware he had hit the foreigner and only found out when the story went viral on social media.
Maethanat was behind the wheel of the white Isuzu D-Max pickup that hit 74 year old British man Peter Palmer on the zebra crossing on Jomtien Sai Song Road on Wednesday, November 28. Palmer’s body flew up in the air and landed five metres away from the impact point. He suffered injuries to his hip and head.
An inspector from Mueng Pattaya Police Station revealed to Thairath last night that Maethanat surrendered yesterday afternoon.
Maethanat insisted to the police that he did not mean to run away, saying he was unaware he hit the foreigner. He only learned about his action when he found the story circulating on social media.
Police took the pickup driver to the British man’s condominium where he apologised for his reckless driving and promised to take care of the treatment costs.
The driver was charged with violating Section 390 of the Criminal Law: driving recklessly and causing physical or mental harm to another person. Maethanat faces up to one month in prison, a fine of up to 10,000 baht, or both.
Palmer said he appreciated the help he received from Thai netizens and news agencies, which made the driver surrender and take responsibility for his actions.
Many netizens did not believe the driver’s side of the story saying he would never surrender if the story was not exposed on social media. Others pointed out that the crossing is an accident hotspot and cars rarely stop for pedestrians.
ORIGINAL STORY: British man injured in hit-and-run incident in Pattaya
A 74 year old British man was injured in a hit-and-run incident on the zebra crossing in Pattaya. The driver is on the run.
Peter Palmer was hit by a wreckless pickup driver as he crossed Jomtien Sai Song Road at 11am yesterday. Fortunately, the British man survived and is appealing to the Thai media to spread his story so he can track down the dangerous driver and make him pay compensation.
Palmer told reporters that he waited for the green man to flash before crossing the road at the zebra crossing as suggested by the law. But, as he was halfway across the road, the man driving the white Isuzu D-Max pickup ignored the red traffic light and hit Palmer.
A witness to the incident revealed that Palmer’s body flew up in the air before falling to the ground. The driver did not stop to check his condition and drove away as if nothing had happened.
The witness helped send Palmer to the hospital where he had four stitches to a head wound while he is experiencing excruciating hip pain. He is now waiting for x-ray results to see whether any other parts of his body were broken or injured.
“If the pickup driver sees me on the news, I would like to tell him to surrender himself and take care of me. Both motorists and pedestrians should be more careful when using roads for the safety of everybody.”
Palmer says he will take security camera footage to Mueng Pattaya Police Station today and file a complaint.
According to Sections 78 and 160 of the Land Traffic Act, any drivers who cause damages to another person or another person’s assets and do not stop to provide help will face imprisonment of up to three months, a fine from 2,000 to 10,000 baht or both. If the victim was seriously injured or killed, the penalty will be harder: up to six months in prison and a 5,000 to 20,000 baht fine.
Hit-and-run accidents happen too often in Thailand. A homeless man in Bangkok was killed in a hit-and-run incident last week by a BMW driver who police have yet to identify. Meanwhile, last month a young woman in Chon Buri and a road sweeper were also killed by hit-and-run six-wheel drivers.
Some accidents occurred on zebra crossings where motorists are expected to stop for pedestrians.
Many people urge the government to be more severe with the nation’s reckless hit-and-run case offenders, giving them larger fines and bigger prison sentences. Then they might think twice about running a red light.