Need for Speed: ‘Experts’ Disagree on ‘Boss Red Bull’ Wreck

In this Sept. 4, 2012, file photo, forensic police examine the motorcycle Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert was riding when he was killed in a hit-and-run by Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya.

BANGKOK — Testimonies to prosecutors wildly differ in what speed a billionaire scion was driving when he killed a policeman with his Ferrari back in 2012.

Speaking today to a committee set up by the prosecutors, a physics professor from Chulalongkorn University said Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya was driving at 177 kilometers per hour when he crashed into the policeman – disputing claims made by the forensic police and another witness.

All charges against Vorayuth were dropped in June, including the serious offense of fatal reckless driving, but prosecutors said they may revive the case and file new charges against him. 

But there are conflicting testimonies about Vorayuth’s speed when he crashed and killed Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert, a key piece of evidence in the investigation. 

Sathon Vijarnwannaluk, who teaches physics at Chulalongkorn University, calculated that Boss’s car was going at 177 kilometers per hour. When contacted by phone, Sathon declined an interview, saying he wanted police to announce the results of the inquiry first. 

Democrat Party deputy leader Samart Ratchapolsitte also submitted a report that calculated the speed to be at 126 kilometers per hour. Prosecutor Prayuth Petchkhun counted the report as one of the new evidence to be used in the case against Boss.

Neither Sathorn nor Samart’s estimates were used in the investigation that followed the crash in 2012. Instead, the police adopted lower figures by an automotive expert and a forensic police officer. 

Saiprasit Koetniyom, director of the automotive safety department at King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, said Vorayuth had been driving at 76.175 kilometers per hour. His testimony is believed to have contributed to the decision to drop the charges against Vorayuth. 

A forensic police officer Col. Thanasit Taengjun from the Scientific Crime Detection Center 1 initially reported that Vorayuth drove at 177 kilometers per hour, but in 2016 changed his testimony to 79.23 kilometers per hour. He cited mathematical error. 

However, it emerged recently that Saiprasit’s engineering license had expired since 2016, raising questions whether his testimony held any value. 

In response to the public outcry, transparency activist Srisuwan Janya filed a complaint to the Council of Engineers last week to investigate Saiprasit’s background. 

Deputy national police chief Gen. Satawat Hirunburana, who heads the police panel on Vorayuth’s case, said Monday that the committee will announce the results of police findings on Thursday.

The panel also found that Boss’s blood contained both cocaine and alcohol, and would propose the police press additional narcotics charges against the Red Bull heir, Satawat said.

Related stories:

Prosecutors Say ‘Boss Red Bull’ Case Can Be Revived