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Red Bull Heir Charged With DUI and Kill-and-Run Accident

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Police arrest Vorayuth Yoovidhya (Reuters video)

Police arrest Vorayuth Yoovidhya (from Reuters video).

Red Bull energy drink heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya was probably driving his Ferrari at more than 100 kilometers per hour (62 MPH) in Bangkok, Thailand, when he slammed into a motorcycle, instantly killing its police officer driver, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, according to the Bangkok Post.

An Associated Press (AP) article appearing on Huff Post World reports that Thai police said yesterday [Thursday] that officials would add drunk driving to the charges against Yoovidhya, which already included causing death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest.

The latter two charges could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years, as Andrew Tsaousis writes for Carscoop. Tests taken after the Monday accident showed that the 27-year-old’s blood alcohol level was 0.063%, exceeding the legal limit of 0.05, according to Police Lt. Col. Wiradon Tubtimdee.

Yoovidhya’s lawyer said his client, the grandson of late Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, was not drinking before the accident, AP reports, and quotes the lawyer: “‘I understand that after the crash and his surrender, Boss drank that night to relieve his tenseness […] but he did not drink before the incident happened,’ family lawyer Samak Chaowapanant told the Bangkok Post, referring to Vorayuth [Yoovidhya] by a nickname.”

According to police, Yoovidhya said the motorcycle police officer swerved in front of his vehicle, AP reports. Carscoop writes that after Yoovidhya hit the motorcycle with his car, he dragged the police officer’s body “for some distance.” The 47-year-old police office suffered fatal neck and bone injuries, and Yoovidhya allegedly fled from the scene, Carscoop writes. Police said they followed the trail of gasoline, which led them to Yoovidhya’s family estate, and there they found a gray Ferrari FF whose front end was damaged and whose windshield was smashed, according to Carscoop.

Carscoop reports:

Police chief Lt Gen Comronwit Toopgrajank went personally to the estate to oversee the investigation. ‘A policeman is dead,’ he told local reporters, according to the Associated Press. ‘I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign.’

 He was referring to a lower-ranked officer who tried to cover up the matter and the police [superintendent], who was transferred elsewhere after arresting another suspect.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s grandfather died earlier this year at the age of 80; Forbes placed him at 205th on its list of the world’s billionaires, Carscoop notes. In U.S. dollars, his fortune was around $5.4 billion.

Here is a Reuters news video about the arrest:


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