Alcohol ruled out as cause of fatal minivan crash
Police looking into the cause of a fatal crash killing 4 Japanese tourists travelling by minivan have ruled out alcohol as the reason.
Ayutthaya police said they have employed alcohol test on the driver of the 10-wheel truck which engaged in a tragic crash but found he was not intoxicated.
The crash on Highway 347 from Pathumthani province to Bang Pahan district in Ayutthaya province yesterday afternoon left five dead – four Japanese tourists and a Thai female guide from Tiger Tourist Co.
Ayutthaya police commander Pol Col Sanga Thirasaranyanont said alcohol test was employed on the truck driver Virachai Ruangsri, 22, but the result showed he did not drive under in alcohol influence.
Police are looking into other cause of the fatal crash.
He added that the police are in coordination with doctors at Ayutthaya hospital for alcohol test on the commuter van driver Charoen Aksornsri, 52, who is still in critical condition.
He said the commuter van was taking the five people to have dinner in Ayutthaya town.
But as they arrived in Ayutthaya, the van rammed at the rear of the 10-wheeler which was making a left turn.
Meanwhile Bang Pa-in district police chief Pol Col Chaiya Phetpanta said the police have not yet brought charges against the two drivers as they needed to question the driver of the commuter van first.
However the driver is still in critical condition, he said.
The Japanese Embassy in Bangkok has already informed their relatives about the incident and they will arrive today in Bangkok to pick up their bodies home from the Thammasat Hospital’s Central Forensic Science Institute for funeral.
The four Japanese were identified as Katsuhiko Narimoto, 65, Haruka Narimoto, 30, Kumiko Komeima, 59, and Yoshio Komeima, 68. They were on a sightseeing tour organized by Tokyo-based Nippon Travel Agency Co.
The female Thai guide died in the van was identified as Ms Piyathip Kruengtai.
The four Japanese left Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture on Tuesday and were due to return to Japan tomorrow (Friday) after touring Bangkok and Ayutthaya. They were making a one-day trip to the popular tourist spot when they were killed in the accident, according to the travel agency.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased,” agency President Akihiro Horisaka said at a news conference in Tokyo.
The tragic accident happened at 4.00pm on Kilometre 28 of the Highway 347 in Village 8 of Tambon Talad Krieb in Bang Pahan district. Firemen and rescue workers of the Por Teck Tueng Charity Foundation were alerted of the fire and rushed to the scene immediately.
Driver of the commuter van identified as Charoen Aksornsri was helped out of the van in serious condition while the five others were stranded inside the van which caught fire after the collision.
He was rushed to Bang Pa-in hospital and was described in critical condition.