The grandson of Red Bull inventor and billionaire businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya has confessed to hit-and-run charges in the wake of an accident early Monday morning that left a policeman dead, the Bangkok Post has reported.
Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, 27, allegedly hit motorcycle policeman Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 48, with his dark-colored Ferrari at 5:30am on Sukhumvit Soi 47, dragging his body about 200 meters. Wichian reportedly suffered a broken neck and several broken bones.
Vorayuth, after being arrested, admitted to hitting Wichian, but said that the police officer had cut him off suddenly and that evasive action would have been impossible.
Police have charged Vorayuth with causing death by reckless driving and failing to stop and inform authorities. He was taken to Police General Hospital for a blood alcohol test and later released on a THB500,000 bail.
Yoovidhya family lawyer Samak Chewaphanont said that the family would offer compensation to the officer’s family and sponsor the funeral rites. He said that Vorayuth was in shock and could not speak to anyone right now, but that he had not consumed any alcohol before the accident.
Witnesses said that the Ferrari hit the motorcycle but kept on speeding, entering the gates of the family compound on Sukhumvit 53. Police arriving at the scene followed an engine oil trail to the compound but were not allowed in by security guards.
Later, Metropolitan Bureau Police chief Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang arrived at the compound and negotiated to allow police to search the house and an underground garage, where they found the damaged THB32 million Ferrari. Vorayuth surrendered to police at around 10:30am yesterday.
Later Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit said that he had transferred the Thonglor crime control inspector over the incident for allegedly allowing a Yoovidhya family driver to take the blame for the crime in the initial stages of the investigation. “A policeman is dead. I can’t let this stand. If I let this case get away, I’d rather quit,” he told reporters. “I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign.”
Vorayuth is the grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, who invented the world famous Red Bull or Krating Daeng energy drink and became massively wealthy from its success. Chaleo died earlier this year.
The Yoovidhya family was ranked the fourth richest in Thailand by Forbes magazine with a net worth of USD5.4 billion. They also are part owners of the only authorized importer of Ferraris in Thailand, the AP reported.