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Bus Carrying 48 Monks Crashes Killing Monk and Injuring 13 Others

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Bus Carrying 48 Monks Crashes

On Saturday, a monk was killed and 13 others were injured when a tour bus carrying nearly 50 monks and novices collided with concrete barriers on a hilly road in the Wichian Buri district of Phetchabun, Thailand.

According to police, the incident occurred around 7 a.m. on the Nam Om hill on Highway 225 along the Nakhon Sawan-Chaiyaphum route in tambon Yang Sao.

When police and rescue workers arrived on the scene, they discovered a tour bus overturned on the road. The driver had fled.

One monk was discovered dead, and 13 other monks were injured, one critically. Phra Maha Charoen Chakkawano, 36, deputy district chief monk of Kham Khuen Kaeo in Yasothon province, was identified as the deceased monk. The injured monks were transported to local hospitals.

The monks who escaped unharmed told police that the bus, which was carrying 48 monks and novices, the driver, and two Yasothon villagers, was on its way to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew hilltop temple in Phetchabun’s Khao Kho district.

According to them, the driver attempted to overtake a truck carrying sugarcane on the hilly road, but the bus developed a brake problem. The driver lost control of the bus, which collided with roadside barriers before flipping over.

Bentley Driver Charged

Meanwhile, after narcotic substances were detected in his blood, police will summon the Bentley driver involved in an expressway collision that injured eight people last week to face an additional charge.

Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, said on Saturday that investigators must file additional charges against Suthat Siwapiromrat after a blood test at Police General Hospital revealed narcotic substances in his system.

According to Pol Lt Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-Ek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), an initial test revealed the substance, which could be methamphetamine, ketamine, diazepam, or nordiazepam. More tests were being carried out to determine exactly what it was.

Mr Suthat’s Bentley collided with the back of a brand-new Mitsubishi Pajero in the middle lane of the Chaloem Maha Nakhon expressway early last Sunday morning. The impact caused the Pajero to flip before being hit by an oncoming vehicle in the right lane.

Six people were injured in the Pajero, including a four-year-old child, as well as two firefighters in the other vehicle.

According to a report from a team of first responders, Mr Suthat exited his Bentley, walked down the expressway, and hailed a cab in an apparent attempt to flee the scene.

Mr Suthat appeared to be intoxicated, according to one of the first responders. He refused to take a breathalyzer test, claiming he had chest pains as a result of the airbag inflating during the accident. Instead, he agreed to take a blood test.

Police under investigation

The alcohol level in the blood was 10.73 milligrams, well below the legal limit of 50mg. According to police, the blood test was performed within an hour of the incident, but other sources claim it took four hours.

The police officers in charge of the case have come under fire for allegedly favoring the driver because of his wealth and connections. Mr Suthat, the brother of New Economics Party leader Manoon Siwapiromrat, is a director of several companies and a well-known political donor.

According to Pol Gen Damrongsak, the MPB has formed a fact-finding committee to question the officers who did not conduct an alcohol test on the driver immediately following the crash.

When he was a deputy national police chief, he ordered that a breathalyzer test be performed immediately after a crash. If a driver is injured and unable to take a breathalyzer test, police must take the driver to a blood test right away. Any driver who refuses would be considered intoxicated.

Officers would face disciplinary action if the investigation found they were negligent in their duties at the accident scene. According to Pol Gen Damrongsak, the panel will investigate the facts before deciding whether to pursue criminal charges.

The immediate commander of the officers handling the case must be held accountable, according to the national police chief, who added that he would not assist any officers in avoiding punishment.

 

Thailand Cracks-Down on Monks Behaving Badly

Thailand Cracks-Down on Monks Behaving Badly

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