By Prasit Tangprasert
Police have charged chartered-bus driver Krissana Juthacheun, 44, with reckless driving causing death and injuries, failing to stop to provide aid to injured passengers and having narcotic substances in his body while driving.
Krissana reportedly fled the scene right after the crash. He tested positive for drug use and confessed to having taken yaba pills during the 50-strong tour group’s trip on Monday and Tuesday to Chanthaburi, said Provincial Police Region 3 chief Pol Lt-General Damrongsak Kittiprapat. The group was returning to Kalasin at the time of the Wednesday crash.
Damrongsak joined the case's investigators' meeting on Friday morning at the Udomsap precinct to conclude Krissana’s interview.
Krissana sustained slight wounds on his right arm. He was spotted on Thursday wandering in the area seven kilometres from the scene and was brought into custody.
Police said he then confessed to having fled the scene for fear of being punished over so many deaths.
He said he drove the coach downhill at a “moderately high speed” – contrary to a GPS reading that the bus was moving at 80kms/hr in an area limited to 60kms/hour – and had a brake malfunction while reaching a curve and veering to the right to pass a truck.
The driver lost control of the coach and went over the one-metre-tall concrete barrier of a road island and into the oncoming lane before ploughing into roadside stalls and trees.