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Scientist sticks by “Boss” car speed as Deputy PM denies links

Scientist sticks by “Boss” car speed as Deputy PM denies links

THAILAND: A Chulalongkorn scientist who concluded that Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya drove his car at 177km/h in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case is sticking by his evidence and says he was never told the speed was later adjusted to nearly 100 km/h less.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 30 July 2020, 11:39AM

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya was accused of killing a police officer in 2012. On the right is his damaged Ferrari that experts maintain was driving at speeds of 177km/h when the collision occurred. Photo: AFP.

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya was accused of killing a police officer in 2012. On the right is his damaged Ferrari that experts maintain was driving at speeds of 177km/h when the collision occurred. Photo: AFP.

Sathon Vijarnwannaluk, a physics lecturer at the university’s Faculty of Science, was a member of the original evidence collection team and has told a talk show on Thairath TV that he is sceptical about police officers’ new conclusion that the Red Bull heir’s Ferrari was not exceeding 80km/h.

Soon after the accident, the lecturer said he examined CCTV footage taken from a showroom in Soi Sukhumvit 53, around 100 metres from the crash scene.

Since that was the only footage available, he said he decided to calculate the car’s speed based on the moment it passed the camera.

Mr Sathon said the car seemed to be travelling very fast since it appeared on the screen at 05.34.17 and left before 05.34.18. The distance between the two points was about 31 metres.

He admitted he had not been able to produce a precise calculation at the time, so he merely concluded the car had travelled around 30 metres in less than one second.

He therefore concluded the car must have travelled at a speed faster than 108km/h.

In a phone interview with the Bangkok Post, he said his calculation was based on the time which appeared on the CCTV, so it’s scientifically based.

Two teams of specialists calculated the car’s speed at the crucial moment, he said, and each could have produced a different result depending on the starting point it used.

Nevertheless, Mr Sathon said his team concluded the Ferrari had travelled at 177km/h and the other team 174km/h.

Two new specialist witnesses, police majors, inspected the damage to the Ferrari and the victim’s motorcycle.

They compared it to other accidents and agreed the Ferrari had not exceeded 80km/h.

Prawit denial

Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday (July 29) denied speculation that his family had influence over the decision to drop the manslaughter charge against Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya in June.

CMI - Thailand

According to media reports, Gen Prawit’s brother, Admiral Sitthawat, was chairman of the now-dissolved National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee when Mr Vorayuth’s lawyer, Samak, petitioned it to have the charge dropped.

The reports said the committee later asked prosecutors to send Vorayuth’s case file back to the police to reconsider his indictments, citing new witnesses. The move effectively killed the case against the young heir.

“My family has never known [Mr Vorayuth’s] family,” Gen Prawit said. “Personally, I have never known him.”

He said the accusation that Adm Sitthawat was involved in the decision to drop the charges Mr Vorayuth was surprising because Adm Sitthawat did not have the power to do so.

Mr Samak, Mr Vorayuth’s lawyer, previously petitioned the panel to provide justice and postpone forwarding the Office of Attorney-General’s prosecution files to court.

Gen Prawit stressed neither he nor any member of the Prawit family could have forced the charges to be dropped.

Family plea

Elsewhere the Yoovidhya extended family has urged the Red Bull scion to step forward and clear public doubt over his controversial case.

In a letter dated yesterday and signed by Yoovidhya “brothers and sisters”, extended family members offered their utmost apology to the public over the decision by prosecutors to drop all charges against Mr Vora­yuth, which stirred an outcry among citizens.

“While we cannot renounce our Yoovidhya blood ties with Mr Vorayuth, we can say that since the case began, Mr Vorayuth’s immediate family has never consulted us over the issue,” the letter said.

“We also do not agree with Mr Vorayuth’s many decisions in the case.”

The letter was signed by Suthirat, Panadda, Sarawut, Sakchai, Jirawat, Supreeya and Nucharee Yoovidhya and Saipin (Yoovidhya) Phahonyothin.

They said Mr Vorayuth should explain himself to provide clarity on his case and reduce negative public sentiment affecting everyone in the Yoovidhya family.

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