Doctor who crashed into guard hit with attempted murder rap
Two additional charges of attempted murder and defying an official order to undergo alcohol and drugs tests have been pressed against a senior public health official who rammed his car into a security guard at the ministry on Friday.
The ministry received a report of the accident in which Yorn Chiranakhon ran his car into Somchai Yamdee, a 22-year-old security guard who was closing a gate at the ministry in Nonthaburi about 8.10pm that evening.
After the crash, the security guard was dragged around 20 metres.
Dr Yorn, a senior doctor attached to Health Centre Region 12 overseeing the South, was hit with the fresh charges while he acknowledged two previous charges of reckless driving causing severe injuries to others and driving under the influence of alcohol at Muang Nonthaburi police station yesterday.
The latest charges were brought by deputy national police chief Wirachai Songmetta who took action after Thaejing Siripanit, secretary-general of the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation, lodged a petition urging him to oversee the case.
Dr Thaejing said he would also petition the ministry to launch a disciplinary probe against the doctor.
According to Pannaphat Detchchotevisith, superintendent of Muang Nonthaburi police station, the doctor earlier refused to allow police to take a blood test to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
Pol Col Pannaphat yesterday said investigators needed to question all the people who witnessed the incident such as passersby, motorcycle taxi drivers and rescue workers.
Any video clips of the crash recorded by witnesses would be retrieved from them as evidence, he said.
According to a person who witnessed the incident, Dr Yorn had the appearance of being intoxicated and was staggering with a red face before he got into his car to drive away from the building.
Mr Somchai was rushed to Pranangklao Hospital and underwent two rounds of brain surgery. He is still in intensive care and on life support. Dr Yorn admitted to his wrongdoing during a press conference at the ministry on Monday.
Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn explained that the ministry needs to consider all relevant information as the accident occurred out of office hours.
He said though a disciplinary probe is not yet under way, he has launched his own investigation to make sure the information he has received is accurate and fair.
Besides, the ministry has ordered more street lights to be installed at the scene to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.
The Health Ministry is providing assistance for the family of Mr Somchai, overseeing the medical treatment and closely following his condition, Dr Piyasakol said.
At the hospital, Chainarong Nakthai, the elder brother of the victim, said the family was furious when they saw the video clip featuring the incident.
Nevertheless, Mr Chainarong said the family was pleased when Dr Yorn took full responsibility for the condition of his brother, who was the family breadwinner.
In addition, the family would discuss with the doctor soon the drafting of a contract detailing his financial and legal responsibilities, he said.
The doctor was yesterday released on bail of 500,000 baht.
Yorn: Out on bail of 500,000 baht