Six years after the unlicensed teen driver with a prominent last name killed nine people by ramming her Civic into a commuter van on Don Muang expressway, she still hasn’t completed the 138 hours of community service that kept from spending a single day in jail, according to court reports.
Orachorn “Praewa” Thephasadin na Ayudhya was back in Central Juvenile and Family Court yesterday to admit that she breached probation by not completing the hours and asked to start them again, according to Bangkok Post.
Praewa, now 22, said that she hadn’t understood the Probation Department (PD) regulations or designated places she could perform the hours.
Her community service became a topic of public interest when she sent a lawyer to the court in February with documents signed by Phramongkutklao Hospital that showed she had completed 90 hours of community service there without authorization from the PD.
However, the department said the hours she performed could not be counted because the hospital was not on its list of organizations where people on probation could do community service.
The hospital is not even in Nonthaburi where Praewa is a legal resident and required to perform her community service.
PD Director Gen. Col. Narat Sawetanant, accused Praewa of not talking to authorities before starting on the alleged hours and just choosing a place to perform them. He returned the matter to court, where three PD officials testified against the girl. The judge ordered Praewa and the PD to form a written agreement about where she would perform the service but those documents were never made public.
According to Sanook, she is expected to have all the hours done at an approved venue for community service by August 23.
Since she is requesting to start the hours again, we are assuming she has not yet made progress on her goal.
In 2010, Praew, 16 at the time, was driving a Honda Civic without a license on the tollway on Dec 27, 2010, when she crashed into a van carrying 14 people coming from Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus. She crashed into the back on the van, which was carrying mostly students and university staff. The crash caused the van to flip and fall from the elevated expressway. Eight people were ejected from the van and died. One more died later at the hospital. The other five passengers sustained injuries.
She became the focus of public anger when she was photographed just moments after the crash resting against a highway barrier and texting on her phone while the bodies of the van passengers littered the road below.
She was arrested and charged with driving without a license, since 18 is the minimum driving age in Thailand. She was also charged with reckless driving causing death and injury.
Praewa was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended. She was ordered to do 48 hours of community service for three years, totaling 144 hours. Six hours were subtracted since Praewa donated blood, which counts as community service.
The Civil Court, however, did order the infamous hit-and-text driver to pay THB20 million to the families of the nine victims who died in the crash.
When the PD contacted Praewa’s family to inform them that she hadn’t performed her hours, they contacted the Office of the Ombudsman and said that the PD were threatening their daughter.
Victims’ families from 2010 Don Muang toll crash receive compensation, but driver still not in prison