CHIANG MAI — A key witness in police investigation into a billionaire accused of killing a policeman in a hit-and-run incident has died in a motorbike accident, police said Thursday.
Jaruchart Mardthong, who was questioned by investigators in the case of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya’s fatal crash, died around 1:30am on Thursday on Huay Kaew Road in Chiang Mai city, according to the police, who insisted his death had nothing to do with Vorayuth.
“It’s a regular accident,” Police Capt. Kirat Butrwong, who is in charge of the case, said by phone Thursday.
Jaruchat, 40, died at hospital after crashing with another motorbike driver, who was also injured but had already left hospital.
“Looking at the CCTV footage, it’s an accident,” Police spokesman Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen said Thursday. “But the autopsy is ongoing and investigators will continue to investigate. We aren’t ruling anything out yet.”
Police Col. Ronnachai Rodloi of Bhubhing police in Chiang Mai said that Jaruchat had been driving behind the other motorist before attempting to cut in front of him. Both motorists reportedly had alcohol in their blood.
Jaruchat’s body has been retrieved by his family for his funeral in Chiang Rai.
Testimony given by Jaruchat and another witness is believed to have contributed to prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges against Vorayuth.
Contradicting experts’ belief that the Red Bull fortune heir was driving at a high speed, Jaruchat told police on Dec. 4, 2019, that Vorayuth was going at 50 to 60 kmph. Jaruchat said he was driving behind Vorayuth at the time.
The crash killed Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, who was on patrol in the nightlife district of Thong Lor. Police said cocaine, alcohol, and a substance linked to Xanax were found in Vorayuth’s blood after the incident.
Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome on Thursday tweeted his condolences, and said that he would “follow closely to see if this is really a normal accident or if there are any irregularities since he is involved in the suspicious #BossYoovidhya case.”