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Phuket laundry truck wipeout still under investigation

PHUKET: More than three weeks after a laundry truck in Chalong swerved, tipped onto two wheels, rolled and slammed head-on into a minivan carrying tourists, police have yet to conclude their investigation or charge anyone for the accident.

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By The Phuket News

Saturday 19 May 2018, 09:00AM


The truck driver swerved to avoid hitting a car that had cut across in front of the truck. Image: CCTV / Chalong Municipality

The truck driver swerved to avoid hitting a car that had cut across in front of the truck. Image: CCTV / Chalong Municipality

The collision, on Chao Fa West Rd on April 25, left eight people injured, including a 4-year-old Chinese boy who was among the tourists travelling the van. (See story here.)

The lengthy investigation comes despite CCTV footage showing clearly that the laundry truck driver was trying to avoid hitting a car that had cut across him. (See video here.)

“This case is still under investigation. No charges have been pressed yet,” Chalong Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Somsak Soparak confirmed to The Phuket News late yesterday afternoon (May 18).

Col Somsak said that officers were still waiting to question the van driver, who remains in care at Vachira Phuket Hospital recovering from serious injuries to both legs sustained in the head-on collision.

“He has not been available for questioning. He is still in hospital,” said Col Somsak, obliquing any explanation as to why police were unable to go to the hospital to question him, as has been standard practice in many other cases.

Another factor likely to delay the investigation further is that the investigating officer in the case, Lt Chanat Hongsitthichaikul, has now been transferred to Patong Police Station. Lt Chanat made the move to Patong only yesterday (May 18), leaving his investigation incomplete.

“I have not yet decided whether to press any charges against as I do not have enough information. This is because the van driver is still not yet able to be questioned,” Lt Chanat told The Phuket News yesterday.

Lt Chanat also said that he had not completed his investigation of the laundry truck driver. “I am not satisfied with the information we have from him so far,” he said, without elaborating on exactly what more information he needed from that driver.

Lt Chanat offered no more details about the driver of the car that cut across the truck. He did not even name the driver, who sent his lawyer to represent him at Chalong Police Station instead of appearing in person. (See story here.)

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“His lawyer explained that an elderly Thai man was the driver and that he had denied causing the accident because he said drove carefully enough (sic),” Lt Chanat said.

“He said that he was not guilty. He said that he didn’t realise (about the accident) until his friends showed the video clip to him, and he said that the laundry truck was being driven at high speed, and that was what caused the accident,” he added.

However, Lt Chanat was happy to point out that the four Chinese tourists travelling in the van had already flown home.

“They flew home two weeks ago,” he said.

Fan Zhi Yuan, 34, had suffered cuts to his left leg, Tang Hong, 32, had suffered a broken left leg, and Liu Ling, 63, a broken right leg. The 4-year-old boy suffered bruising to his head but did not receive hospital treatment.

“But the van driver sustained serious injuries to both his legs. He is still in hospital.” Lt Chanat repeated.

Meanwhile, the case will now become another officer’s problem.

“I have handed the case to Col Somsak. It will be followed up soon,” Lt Chanat assured.

Col Somsak was just as reassuring: “The details of this case will be transferred to another policeman soon,” he said.

 

 

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Pauly44 | 23 May 2018 - 12:21:33

Just imagine all the crap these people got away with and the injustices prior to social media and English media outlets whom atleast hold the officers "somewhat accountable". The whole story wreaks of corruption i.e didn't question in hospital " his legs are injured but his mouth still works and the officer conveniently transferred etc. Yet they continue to think we are fools!

Fascinated | 23 May 2018 - 11:27:16

Its clear from the video that the truck was travelling at high speed but no excuse to cut across his bows, the other driver is lying about driving carefully.

chris007 | 23 May 2018 - 03:54:35

this case is dirty from the start and is awash with many uniform errors and the usual spin, the guilty party should be hung out to dry in the hope of cleaning up their act.

Nasa12 | 22 May 2018 - 08:33:59

Hope PN does not let this case disappear, there is so much that does not match many other issues in Chalong Police Station.

Kurt | 20 May 2018 - 12:31:45

Nasa is right. The 'elderly' man who said that he drove carefully, crossed a double line. That is a serious traffic violation, cause of accident. The laundry truck didn't expect that.
Now we know why the 'elderly' man did not report to police, but sent straight away his lawyer. Clever thinking. And it seems to work as well.
Use of word 'elderly' by RTP is suspicious. ...

Nasa12 | 19 May 2018 - 20:20:22

To Deputy Chief Lt Col Somsak Soparak there is still nothing and investigate, the old man crossed double full drawn yellow line to his home (street) And it's only prison time for the old man and money to his victim (Finish).

Kurt | 19 May 2018 - 13:25:41

The 'elderly' (how old?) thai man is lying. He sure realised it as he said the truck drove high speed 
Not reporting to police, why? A lawyer instead. Influential?
Police is using delaying tactics in this case. Why? Can't talk with truck driver after 2.5 weeks in hospital?
Transferring the police officer who is on the case?
Who paid the medical bills of the 4 Chinese tourists? 

CaptainJack | 19 May 2018 - 11:45:08

So from this we can infer that if both drivers had been killed then this collision would never be investigated at all? Since they would be 'unavailable for questioning'?

What chance do victims have of justice when this kind of inept bungling is considered normal? 

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