By THE NATION
POLICE YESTERDAY conducted a simulation of the incident in which senior Public Health Ministry official Dr Yorn Chiranakhon’s car hit a security guard in the ministry compound in Nonthaburi’s Muang district last Friday, said acting national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta.
Yorn and ministerial officials have suggested the lighting was poor at the scene, but Weerachai said an initial inspection on Tuesday at the same time of night found the area was well lit.
Weerachai said the second inspection would use Yorn’s car and be based on interviews with automobile experts, as well as include analysis of data recorded by the vehicle regarding whether hitting a person would be felt by the driver.
Weerachai also said Yorn had been within his rights to refuse a breathalyser test but such a refusal could lead to police assuming that he had been drunk driving, which a trial judge could take into consideration.
The second inspection was deemed necessary because the first simulation did not use Yorn’s car.
Meanwhile, the security guard, Somchai Yamdee, 22, who was seriously injured in the crash, remains in stable condition after being treated at Phra Nang Klao Hospital’s intensive care unit.
Hospital deputy director Dr Sakol Sukphrom said Somchai was regaining consciousness yesterday morning and giving good responses although he still depended on a respirator.
The device was to be removed later yesterday to test if he could breathe by himself, Sakol said. His condition will be considered critical if he still needs the respirator.
Somchai is still being fed intravenously and the left side of his body that was previously paralysed has showed some muscle improvement, he said.
He is being treated in the respiratory care unit and given his continuing fever, he has been given antibiotics, with lab tests due in three to five days regarding its cause.
On Tuesday, Yorn surrendered to police over charges linked to the crash including reckless driving causing serious injury, driving while being intoxicated and attempted murder.
An unnamed eyewitness told police that he was following Yorn’s car and saw the gate was closed, but the car crashed into the gate, knocking the guard to the ground.
The car stood still for 20 seconds before moving forward to run over the guard and drag him along for nearly 30 metres, the witness said. He added that he flashed his lights to alert the other driver to a problem. He also used a mobile phone to record what happened, which he submitted to police.
Meanwhile, Public Health Ministry inspector-general Natthawut Prasertsiripong has been tasked with leading a fact-finding committee to investigate the causes of the crash, ministry spokeswoman Panpimol Wipulakorn said yesterday.
Panpimol also instructed building division employees to implement more safety measures, including the installation of more lights at all gates, trimming trees near light poles and painting dark-green gate panes in a light-reflecting colour.
The work was supposed to be done without contaminating the scene of crash, the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute gate, pending completion of the police investigation.
She said the ministry would also take care of the wounded guard and cooperate with police.