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Wealthy Drunk Driver of Fatal Crash Gets Suspended Sentence

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BANGKOK – A wealth businessman who crashed into a policeman and his family while driving drunk, killing the policeman and his wife. Has been given a three-year suspended sentence and banned from drinking alcohol for life.

A Court on Wednesday passed the sentence on Somchai Wayrotepipat, 57, owner of Thai Carbon & Graphite Co.

Said to be the largest manufacturer of industrial brushes and mechanical carbon in Southeast Asia.

The court took into account the 45 million baht in compensation the defendant had already paid to the victim’s children and their families.

He was arrested after crashing his Mercedes-Benz E250 into a Suzuki Swift  in Thawi Watthana district in the early morning of April 12.

Two people inside the Suzuki were killed – Pol Lt Col Chatuporn Ngamsuwichakul, 48, deputy chief of the Crime Suppression Division’s Subdivision 2, and his wife Nuchanart, 44.

The victim’s youngest daughter,  who was also in the car, was seriously injured by the drunk driver.

Crashed his Mercedes-Benz E250

Somchai’s blood alcohol reading after the crash was 260mg/dL, many times the legal driving limit.

He was initially charged with murder and attempted murder in accordance with the then-government’s policy to curb drink driving during the Songkran festival.

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

Initial Sentence Six Years

The court initially sentenced him to the maximum six years in prison and a fine of 200,000 baht.

The sentence was commuted to three years and a fine of 100,000 baht because of Somchai’s repentance, compensation for the victim’s families and his past record free of any legal punishment.

The jail sentence was suspended for three years. He was ordered to report regularly to the Probation Department for two years, do 48 hours of community services in one year, and not to drink any kind of alcoholic beverage.

Somchai said he was grateful for the affected people for their forgiveness, and already decided to quit  alcohol for life.

He earlier settled compensation of about 45 million baht – including 15 million baht each for the victim’s   two teenage daughters, and 2.5 million baht for each family of the late couple.

Source: Bangkok Post