8 Years After Fatal Crash, Red Bull Heir Is Off the Hook

Vorayuth Yoovidhya killed a Bangkok cop in a 2012 hit-and-run
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2020 7:50 AM CDT
Red Bull Heir Won't Be Punished for Hit-and-Run
In this Sept. 3, 2012 photo, Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya is escorted by police in Bangkok, Thailand.   (Thai Daily News via AP, File)

Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya is now free to return to Thailand, the country he fled after killing a Bangkok motorcycle cop while speeding in his Ferrari nearly a decade ago. Police said Friday that they were dropping the final outstanding charge against the 37-year-old—reckless driving resulting in death—and canceling Thai and Interpol warrants for his arrest, the New York Times reports. "It's quite normal," a police spokesman said. "We strictly followed the protocol here." Critics said the "protocol" appears to be that the country's elites are allowed to escape justice. The arrest warrant for Vorayuth, grandson of the energy drink's inventor, wasn't issued until 5 years after the 2012 hit-and-run, in which his Ferrari dragged the body of Police Sergeant-Mayor Wichian Klanprasert for more than 100 yards.

Investigators followed a trail of brake fluid to Vorayuth's nearby luxury home after the crash, the BBC reports. A test found excessive alcohol levels in his blood, but he claimed it was from drinking at home after the crash. Police said Vorayuth's family, whose fortune is estimated at more than $20 billion, paid the officer's family compensation of around $100,000 to avoid a lawsuit, CNN reports. Vorayuth ignored court summonses and continued to live an international playboy lifestyle in the years after the crash. Public anger at perceived leniency grew after a police officer was suspended over an attempt to cover up Vorayuth's involvement in the crash. "If you are common people like us, I think the case is already finished," the officer's older brother told the Times in 2013. (More Vorayuth Yoovidhya stories.)

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