Red Bull Heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, Grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, was arrested earlier this week for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident that left a police officer dead. It’s alleged that Yoovidhya struck 47-year-old Sgt Maj Wichean Glanprasert with his Ferrari FF, dragging him along the street causing a broken neck and multiple broken bones. The police followed a petrol trail to Yoovidhya’s Bangkok home and detained the 27-year-old.
It’s alleged that the Yoovidhya struck the officers motorcycle from behind at speeds approaching 200km/h, killing him instantly. The lower ranking officer originally assigned to the case is reported to have arrested the wrong person initially, in an attempt to cover up the true perpetrator. However, Police Chief Lt Gen Comronwit Toopgrajank took over the case and arrested the correct suspect.
It has been confirmed that police charged Yoovidhya with drunk driving, however, his lawyer’s released a statement alledging that he was not drunk driving and had instead consumed alcohol at home after the accident. He had already been charged with causing death by reckless driving after admitting to being the driver of the car.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s grandfather, Chaleo Yoovidhya was one of the founding partners of the energy drink company Red Bull. At the time of his death in March this year, Chaleo was listed as the third-richest person in Thailand, with an estimated net worth of $5 billion. The Yoovidhya family also co-owns the sole authorized importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.
If found guilty Vorayuth Yoovidhya could face over ten years in prison, although the case has sparked a debate about the leniency offered by Thailand’s judicial system towards those with money or connections.