Hit-and-Run Van Driver Confesses to Killing German

A rescue worker points to the van Pongdet Pukkakupta reportedly confessed he was driving on 23 Aug. when he hit and killed an elderly German man in Chonburi province.

CHONBURI — The van driver who ran over a German man in Chonburi province one week ago surrendered to police today and confessed that he was speeding when he struck and killed the man.

Pongdet Pukkakupta, 36, apologized for hitting the 78-year-old German man who was crossing a road near Bang Saen beach on the night of 23 Aug., admitting he was rushing to pick up passengers elsewhere before other vans could reach them.

“I was racing with other vans. When I arrived where it happened, I couldn’t see him,” Pongdet said, adding that he fled the scene because he was afraid of being caught.

Pongdet confirmed accounts from his passengers that night that he was indeed speeding to pick up passengers at the Central Festival shopping mall in Pattaya when the accident took place.

He apologized to the family of the victim, whose name has been withheld by police, including his daughter, Panthira Nantasen. He said he now regretted his actions and would like to ask forgiveness from the German’s family.

Pantira, who is married to Thai singer Manaswin Nantasen, said she forgave Pongdet.

“It was an accident. No one wanted this to happen,” Pantira said. “And my father is in a better place now. I’m going to let the justice system handle this.”

Pongdet is now facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a car accident.