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Charge for airport taxi driver in deadly wipeout finally handed to prosecutor

Charge for airport taxi driver in deadly wipeout finally handed to prosecutor

PHUKET: More than seven months after a Phuket airport taxi driver wiped out six vehicles and killed a motorbike rider whilst driving a tourist from the airport during morning rush hour traffic, the lead police investigator has now handed the case over to the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s Office to proceed with legal action.

By Terence Chulavachana

Thursday 6 June 2019, 05:11PM

The scene of the wipeout accident on Oct 30 last year. Photo: Seang Prachachon Kon Phuket / Facebook

The scene of the wipeout accident on Oct 30 last year. Photo: Seang Prachachon Kon Phuket / Facebook

The police investigation, led by Capt Suporn Mueangkai of the Thalang Police, took 217 days complete.

Capt Suporn confirmed to The Phuket News today, “The case of a taxi driver, Marut Puangsombat, who hit six vehicles in October 2018, killing one, was sent to Phuket Prosecutor Office on Tuesday (June 4).

“I requested that the prosecutor present a charge of reckless driving causing death against Mr Marut,” he said.

The accident happened while Marut, 23 years old, was driving his airport taxi southbound along Thepkrasattri Rd near HomePro Thalang at about 8am on Oct 30 last year.

Marut lost control of the vehicle and wiped out six cars and a motorbike. One of the cars struck by the taxi was rammed through a roadside sign. The resulting collisions left the taxi upside down in the middle of the road and killing the motorbike driver, 40-year-old Phuket resident Anuson Rattanadilok Na Phuket, who worked at Thalang Hospital. (See story here.)

A tourist was in Marut’s taxi when the accident happened, but escaped unharmed, and immediately returned to the airport to leave.

Laguna Golf Phuket

“The reason for the accident was that Marut was driving very fast like other taxi drivers. He was not drunk at the time. He has been charged with reckless driving causing death and charged with reckless driving causing damage to property,” Capt Suporn confirmed at the time. (See story here.)

Despite the major accident, Marut has been free to continue working as a taxi driver picking up and dropping off tourists at Phuket International Airport during the tourism high season while the investigation into the accident has continued.

Praprai Sounkul, Chief Policy Specialist at the Phuket Land Transportation office (PLTO), the government department responsible for issuing general and commercial driver’s licences, has already confirmed to The Phuket News that at this stage his office is powerless to take any action over the incident.

“In a criminal case like this, the PLTO will revoke the taxi driver’s license, but only after we conduct our own review of the incident – and that will not happen unless the court finds him guilty,” Mr Praprai said. (See story here.)

“Both the taxi driver and the family of motorcyclist who died have spoken twice about compensation, but they have not been able to reach a conclusion. I think they must settle the compensation in court,” Capt Supon said earlier this year.

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Kurt | 07 June 2019 - 08:12:11

217 days needed for a traffic accident RTP investigation! Wow! Was it really the RTP investigation or perhaps a unsuccessful RTP mediation affair, as both parties not came to a 'compensation deal'. Let Courts handle the accident aspects ( wrong doing/fault) and decide 'compensation'. Or leave it to both sides insurance companies. This is not a police job.

Fascinated | 06 June 2019 - 23:00:09

What a farce.

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