Highway police apologized after admitting they didn’t find the body of a 68-year-old Highway 7 accident victim wasn’t found in the crushed vehicle for more than 12 hours.
It’s unknown if Pattarachai Attaphon, 68, died immediately in the 7:45 a.m. Aug. 9 accident in Sriracha or whether he survived but died before police discovered him around 6 p.m. that night.
Teerapong Subya, a member of the Sawang Prateep Sriracha rescue foundation called to the scene, worried aloud Aug. 10 that Pattarachai could have been saved were it not for the police negligence.
He insisted that Sawang Prateep was not to blame, as highway police arrived at the scene first and officers said they had already checked the vehicle and found no one inside. So the rescue call was cancelled, as police wrongly assumed the driver had been taken to the hospital by another motorist.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Jirapop Limsangkard, commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, his top deputies and Pol. Maj. Gen. Eakarach Limsangkard, head of the Highway Police Division, apologized profusely and expressed condolences to Teerapong’s family for the incident.
Jirapop said nine Highway Police officers arrived on the scene at 7:54 a.m. and “thoroughly” inspected the scene. He claimed that the rescue volunteers also confirmed there were no dead or injured people in the car.
The vehicle was moved to the side of the highway and towed to the Khao Keow investigative unit at 9:28 a.m., he said.
Jirapop said investigating officers started to suspect something was wrong when they couldn’t find the driver at any local hospital, nor at home. No relatives could be reached.
Finally, at 6 p.m., officers went back and checked the car again where they found the body of Pattarachai, both arms broken, lying curled up below the steering column.
The CIB ordered an immediate investigation of how such an error could have occurred and the body was sent for a forensic examination to determine whether Pattarachai had survived the crash and died in the following 12 hours.