BANGKOK – An heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune accused in the hit-and-run death of a policeman in Thailand tested positively for cocaine in his blood, Thai authorities said Saturday.
Police Lt. Akarawin Sukhonthawit said that while Vorayuth Yoovidhya tested positively for the drug, it was not yet clear if he ingested it before the deadly Sept. 3 crash. Vorayuth was not taken into custody until several hours after the accident.
Vorayuth, 27, is accused of driving a Ferrari that struck the officer and dragged his body down a Bangkok street. His family paid the officer’s siblings 3 million baht ($97,000) late last month to forestall a civil lawsuit.
The case has attracted attention because of the widespread public perception that the rich and well-connected in Thailand enjoy immunity from punishment for wrongdoing. Vorayuth missed a scheduled appearance Friday at a Bangkok police station.
Police are seeking to determine if he had a legitimate reason for missing his appointment before taking further action, which could include revoking his 500,000 baht ($15,900) bail.
Vorayuth is the grandson of Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhya, who died in March. The family was ranked fourth richest in the country this year by Forbes magazine with a net worth of $5.4 billion.
They own a wide range of businesses, including shares in the energy drink brand, hospitals, real estate and the sole authorized importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand. The car involved in the accident was valued at about 30 million baht ($1 million).