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.)
“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.