Police shoot out tires to end driving spree

PHUKET CITY: A high-speed chase through Phuket City came to an end about midday on Monday when police shot out the tires of a pickup being driven by a man suffering from severe stress, with the pickup crashing into a concrete pole on Soi Korpai, off Phuket Rd.

Phuket City Police Duty Officer Maj Keerati Triwai told the Gazette that Kusoldharm Foundation driver Ekachai Samudrat had responded to a call from staff at the Honda Showroom on Phang Nga Rd. They reported that a man was walking down the middle of the road, apparently trying to be run over by a car.

When K. Ekachai arrived at the scene, he invited the man, Wirat Maneesri, 44, to sit in his truck’s passenger seat.

However, when K. Ekachai got out of the vehicle to ask a police patrol officer where he could take Wirat for treatment, Wirat slid into the driver’s seat, put the truck in gear and sped off along Weerapong Hongyok Rd, Maj Keerati said.

He and several other police officers gave chase on motorbikes. During the pursuit, Wirat rammed a Mazda pickup waiting at traffic lights on Weerapong Hongyok Rd, causing the Mazda to hit another Mazda pickup waiting in front of it, Maj Keerati said.

The drivers of the rammed pickups were not seriously injured, he added.

Wirat continued driving even after police shot out one of his back tires. As the truck neared the Soi Korpai-Phuket Rd T-junction, police opened fire again, this time hitting one of the front tires, Maj Keerati said.

The Kusoldharm pickup finally slowed, veered and then crashed into a concrete post supporting a heavy metal fence, he said.

Wirat was apprehended and taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Maj Keerati added.

On Tuesday, Wirat was sent to Phuket Provincial Prison, where he remains after being charged with dangerous driving causing property damage and evading arrest, he said.

Relatives have so far paid 150,000 baht for repairs to the three vehicles, he added.

Maj Keerati declined to say what relation, if any, Wirat is to former Patong Mayors Surasak and Chalermsak Maneesri.

After questioning the suspect, police learned that Wirat was on medication for stress and had just received some “bad news” from doctors about a medical condition, he said.

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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