Phuket driver filmed obstructing ambulance claims he didn’t hear it

Vachira Phuket Hospital, where the patient was taken.

A Phuket driver, who was caught on film driving slowly and erratically braking, obstructing an ambulance that was taking a seriously injured woman to a hospital, has now presented himself to police.

A video clip was posted online on Thursday, causing outrage among Thai netizens. The driver presented himself at Phuket City Police Station yesterday (Saturday). He claims he didn’t hear the ambulance because he is “old and deaf”.

So far police have only named the driver as ‘Mr. Thamrong’, and have confirmed he was driving a black BMW. Police have not confirmed Mr. Thamrong’s age, or why he didn’t notice the ambulance lights flashing behind him with the siren blaring. The police chief confirmed, however, that Mr. Thamrong was fined 500 baht, the maximum fine for obstructing an emergency vehicle.

The chief stressed that even though the maximum fine is small, there can be serious charges if a person doesn’t pay it. The chief said that if a person dies because of an ambulance obstruction, the obstruction driver can be charged with manslaughter, negligence causing death, or intentionally causing the death of another person. He added that the charge would depend on the driver’s behaviour.

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In 2020, a driver in Samut Prakan faced serious charges when he allegedly cut in front of and stopped an ambulance that was rushing to pick up a patient who later died on the way to a local hospital. The driver, 38 year old Samrit Maneerit, then allegedly got out of his car and walked over to the ambulance to berate the emergency responders. A nurse video recorded the incident on her smartphone.

Samrit drove off and the ambulance rushed to the patient’s home where 46 year old Pracha Boribun was suffering from a seizure along with trouble breathing. He died on the way to Samut Prakan Hospial.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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