By Teeranai Charuvastra
AYUTTHAYA — The police officers investigating Sunday’s deadly collision that left two dead on an Ayutthaya highway have been replaced following criticism they failed to test the driver for alcohol and drug use.
Police said yesterday that new officers have been brought in to oversee the case against 37-year-old Jenphop Viraporn. He was only charged with fatal reckless driving yesterday, three days after he slammed his Mercedes-Benz into a Ford Fiesta at high speed, killing two graduate students inside. Both victims – a man and a woman – were in their early 30s.
“We have just appointed a new investigative team,” national police deputy commander Pongsapat Pongcharoen announced Thursday. “They are capable and knowledgeable. They have experience in working on many investigations. The public can trust in police work; we will not help anyone in particular.”
An investigative committee has also been convened to find out whether local police breached any procedures in order to assist Jenphop, a businessman whose family owns luxury car dealerships.
“[We will] investigate the performance of investigators that worked with such a delay that it caused doubts among society,” Pongsapat said at Thursday’s news conference. “If we find any wrongdoing, we will proceed with disciplinary action.”
Frustration has built on social media since Sunday over the possibility the case would go nowhere. That escalated when it emerged police didn’t test Jenphop for sobriety after the crash. In an interview with Nation TV on Wednesday night, Phra-Inracha station commander Pongpat Suksawasdi said Jenphop declined to be tested.