Pattaya Daily News

30 December 2010 :: 10:12:40 am 48377

Teen under fire over crash

The 16-year-old driver of a Honda sedan involved in a fatal tollway crash on Monday night has come under strong criticism after a photo showing her using a smart phone moments after the accident was circulated on the internet.
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The picture, which shows a young woman standing near a wrecked Honda Civic with a phone in her hands, has drawn harsh criticism.

Critics say the girl, identified as Orachorn “Prae-wa” Thephasadin Na Ayudhya, was standing on the tollway chatting on her smart phone even as victims lay dying 20m below her. At 16, she is not old enough to hold a driver’s licence.

Eight people were killed when the passenger van they were travelling in crashed near the Bang Khen exit of the Don Muang tollway after being involved in an accident with a Honda Civic.

Police say the car ran into the rear of the van, causing it to hit the tollway barrier. Eight passengers, including the van driver, were thrown from the vehicle and on to the road below.

 

The cause of the accident is being investigated. A superintendent at Vibhavadi police station, Pol Lt Col Chatchai Aiem-ong, said footage from a camera on the tollway showed a car swerving just before it collided with the van, which was travelling from Thammasat University Rangsit Campus.

The online community, in particular, is enraged over the photograph of the girl, although her family insists she was merely alerting her father.

A Facebook page, “More than one million Thais are Not Happy With Prae-wa (Orachorn) Thephasadin Na Ayudhya”, has been created where netizens are voicing their opinions of the accident. It attracted more than 150,000 users who “like” the page within 18 hours of its creation.

The comments range from mild criticism to sarcasm to sheer outrage, while others ask people not to pass early judgement and let justice take its course.

Actor Nat Thephasadin Na Ayudhya, Ms Orachorn’s step-brother, said his sister and family were under great pressure as a result of the barrage of criticism.

Nat insisted his sister was not chatting with friends on her Blackberry phone as widely believed.

“I talked to her about the photo which is circulating on the internet,” he said.

“She was calling her father. She wasn’t chatting on BB.”

His family would call a news conference about the affair but he did not specify when. “My father is a soldier. He is a man of justice. He teaches discipline, integrity and justice.”

Thicha Na Nakorn, a human rights advocate and director of Ban Kanchanaphisek detention centre, said society should not turn its sense of loss over the accident into anger or hatred against the girl.

“This does not mean we should not let justice run its course,” he said.

 

“People who do wrong must be held accountable under the law. But we should not gang up against a person who is being pre-judged as being the cause of the deaths.”

Tawatchai Laosirihongthong, who is investigating the accident for the Land Transport Department, said the girl might have lost control of her vehicle first.

He has found a mark on the wall of the tollway that was probably left by the car. The car carries a similar mark on its right side, he said. The car is also marked on its left front side while the van carries signs of a collision on its right front side.

He assumed, based on the evidence, that the sedan was in the right lane when it lost control and hit the wall. It slid into the middle lane where it collided with the van, said Mr Tawatchai, also head of the Traffic and Transport Development and Research Centre at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.

He also found a red mark on the front of the car, suggesting a third vehicle might have been involved.

“We need to investigate further why the driver of the car lost control,” he said.

Pol Lt Col Pitak Niyompruek, who oversees traffic on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, said the driver of the Honda Civic was being treated at a hospital but the details were being kept secret because she had received death threats.

A staff member at the hospital, who asked not to be named, said Ms Orachorn had been released. She suffered a slight injury to her mouth and one elbow and left the hospital late on Tuesday morning.

Six injured passengers remain at the hospital. Among them are Chanjira Simkrathok, who is still unconscious and in intensive care.

Pol Lt Col Pitak said police had yet to question the driver of the Honda and other agencies would have to be present when they do, as the girl was a minor.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva pledged to ensure justice for all concerned following criticism that powerful people were pulling strings to help the teen driver.

“Nobody is above the law,” he said.

Report by : en.isnhotnews.com

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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