Hunt on for baht bus driver who killed 5, injured 9

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A police manhunt is on for Somporn Thamaen (inset), driver of a Sattahip baht bus who, while fighting with his wife, crashed his overloaded taxi, killing five passengers and injuring nine others.
A police manhunt is on for Somporn Thamaen (inset), driver of a Sattahip baht bus who, while fighting with his wife, crashed his overloaded taxi, killing five passengers and injuring nine others.

A manhunt is on for the driver of a Sattahip baht bus who, while fighting with his wife, crashed his overloaded taxi, killing five passengers and injuring nine others.

Among the dead in the Nov. 18 accident at the 164th-kilometer marker on Sukhumvit Road were 15-year-olds Maneerath Sridaowrueng and Natda Pandit. Maneerath, an electronics student at Sattahip College, was laid to rest in a somber ceremony at Samakeebanpot Temple Nov. 20.

The girl’s mother, Julee Sridaowrueng, 46, begged for driver Somporn Thamaen, 35, to turn himself in. An arrest warrant has been issued.

Also confirmed dead in the crash were Supansa Sonhun, 36; Pornpimol Nakasem, 55, and Nappatch Kongsieng, 30.

On Nov. 24, Sureeporn Weerabawornkul, director of the Office of Insurance Commission Area 9, and Taweesak Khunopat, manager of Asia Insurance Co., presented families of the five killed in the crash with 300,000 baht each in compensation.

Fifteen people were packed into the back of the Naklua-Sattahip pickup truck when it barreled into a large Pradhu tree around 2:30 p.m. The roof of the cab was torn off and the passenger bay destroyed, with bodies scattered all around the wrecked baht bus.

The two teenagers died at the scene while the three adults died later at the hospital. Another nine unidentified passengers were seriously injured.

Police said the crash was a result of careless driving. Before the wreck, Somporn was arguing with his wife in the cab of the pickup. Passengers said the fight turned violent and, as the two were exchanging blows, Somporn drove the baht bus into the tree.