Doctor denies fleeing after slamming car into guard

Senior government doctor Yorn Chiranakhon admits he was behind the wheel when his car struck and dragged a security guard – and won’t answer whether he was drunk. (FB/TheClip.UDOMSUK51)

A senior public health official admitted Monday to ramming his car into a security guard at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi on Friday.

Yorn Chiranakhon, a senior doctor at Health Centre Region 12 overseeing the South, however, claimed he did not see Somchai Yamdee, a 22-year-old security guard who was closing a gate at the ministry, as it was night-time.

According to a person who witnessed the incident, Dr Yorn had the appearance of being intoxicated and was staggering with a red face before he got into his car to drive away from the building.

Pol Col Pannaphat Detchchotevisith, superintendent of Muang Nonthaburi police station, said the doctor refused to allow police to take a blood test to find out whether he was intoxicated.

The doctor has been charged with reckless driving causing others to receive severe injuries and driving under the influence of alcohol, said Pol Col Pannaphat.

Screen captures from the video captured by a stationary CCTV camera show the initial, violent striking of the body. The driver then moves forward, over the inert security guard, and then drags him down the road.

Dr Yorn held a news conference Monday evening after coming under fire from netizens and members of the public, after accusations that he may have been intoxicated emerged. The ministry had also asked him to clarify the matter.

He insisted he had not tried to flee and was willing to shoulder Mr Somchai’s medical expenses.

Asked whether he consumed alcohol on the day of the incident, Dr Yorn did not reply, but said he already told police all information relating to the case.

He expressed his regret over the incident and delivered an apology to the family of Mr Somchai, who had been rushed to Pranangklao Hospital after being dragged for around 20 metres after the impact at 8.10pm on Friday, according to witnesses.

The doctor said he did not follow the victim to the hospital as he believed he would be summoned to give testimony at a police station.

“I insist that I had no intention of trying to escape. I drove through that gate because I wanted to go to Soi Akkanee on the other side of the ministry. It is not my regular route,” Dr Yorn said.

During the news conference, Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, deputy permanent secretary for public health, said the ministry had not neglected the issue but would have to wait for the results of the police investigation before considering whether disciplinary action against the doctor was appropriate, she said.

Mr Somchai underwent two surgeries due to serious brain injuries caused by the crash and is currently in a coma on life support in the intensive care unit.