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Drunk Driving Businessman Who Killed Policeman and His Wife Agrees to Pay US$1.4 Million in Damages

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BANGKOK – Thai Businessman, Somchai Wayrotepipat 57, who slammed into a car, killing a couple and severely wounding their 16 year-old daughter has agreed to pay US$1.4 Million (45 million baht) in damages to the daughters and relatives of a police officer who was killed along with his wife in a head-on collision in Bangkok during the Songkran festival.

Thai media reported the deal was settled at the Sala Daeng police station in Bang Kae district on Thursday. Mr Somchai, his lawyer, relatives of the damaged family and their insurance agents were there to consider appropriate damages for the family following the collision that killed Pol Lt Col Chatuporn Ngamsuwichakul, 48, of the Crime Suppression Division, and his wife Nuchanart, 44, in mid-April.

Lawyer Weerawut Bamrungjai said Pol Lt Col Chatuporn’s mother and a senior relative of Nuchanart would each receive 2.5 million baht in compensation for the financial support they would otherwise be receiving from the couple.

Their two daughters, aged 15 and 12, would get 15 million baht each. A trustee will be appointed by the Central Juvenile and Family Court to keep the money for them until they come of age.

The lawyer said Mr Somchai still felt guilty about the crash as he also had two daughters of school ages. Besides, he has quit drinking and driving, the Bangkok Post reports.

The 57-year-old businessman also gave 5 million baht each to the childhood families of the couple and paid 1.5 million baht for the treatment of the couple’s younger daughter who suffered brain haemorrhage in the crash. The girl recovered and already returned to school.

Businessman Somchai Werotphiphat drove his Mercedes Benz into an oncoming lane of traffic, slamming into a family of three in a Suzuki Swift, killing a couple and severely wounding their daughter. – File Photo

The collision happened on Thawi Watthana-Kanchanaphisek Road at 11.30pm on April 11. Earlier Mr Somchai practised golf at a driving range and drank beer before driving his Mercedes-Benz E250 home. On the way he dozed off and woke after the crash. His blood alcohol measured 260mg/dL just after the crash with the couple’s Suzuki Swift.

The owner of Thai Carbon & Graphite Co, claimed to be Southeast Asia’s largest manufacturer of industrial brushes and mechanical carbon, became the first fatal drink driver charged with murder and attempted murder in accordance with the government’s policy to curb drink driving during the Songkran festival.

The Taling Chan Court rejected both charges and accepted three others: drink driving causing death, drink driving causing serious injuries and drink driving causing property damage.

Police at the Sala Daeng station insisted that they would still press the murder charges.