BMW driver fined for obstructing ambulance

PHUKET: The driver of the BMW that obstructed an ambulance while transporting a seriously injured woman to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town on Thursday (Apr 28) has presented himself to police.

The driver of the black BMW, ’Mr Thamrong’ (left), at Phuket City Police Station yesterday (Apr 30). Photo: Phuket City Police

The driver, named by police only as “Mr Thamrong” (family name not revealed), presented himself at Phuket City Police Station yesterday afternoon (Apr 30), confirmed Phuket City Police Chief Col Sarawut Chuprasit in a notice issued late yesterday.

Mr Thamrong confirmed he was driving the black BMW sedan when it was filmed driving intentionally slow and erratically, braking from time to time, preventing the ambulance from continuing its journey to the hospital.

Mr Thamrong said he did not hear the ambulance because he was “old and deaf”, Col Sarawut explained in his notice released yesterday.

Col Sarawut did not confirm how old Mr Thamrong is or give any explanation as to why Mr Thamrong did not notice the ambulance with flashing lights behind him all throughout the time that the BMW was filmed preventing the ambulance from passing.

Col Sarawut did confirm that Mr Sarawut was fined B500, the maximum fine that can be levied under Section 74 of the Traffic Act.

Col Sarawut in his notice called for all motorists to give way to all emergency vehicles, especially when they are flashing their warning lights and sounding their siren.

In his six-point explanation, Col Sarawut called for drivers to pull over to the left when safe to do so to allow emergency vehicles to pass. If in traffic, the driver will have to choose which is the best way to get out of the emergency vehicle’s way, he added.

Col Sarawut noted that although the maximum fine under the law for obstructing an emergency vehicle is only B500, if the failure to do so results in grave consequences, the driver may face much more serious charges.

In the event that it is later found that the patient in the ambulance dies because the ambulance was intentionally obstructed, the driver may even face a manslaughter charge, he said.

“If the action is a ‘direct cause’ causing the sick person in the ambulance to die, the driver may be liable to a charge of negligence causing the death of another person or intentionally causing the death of another person. All of this depends on the behaviour of the driver,” Col Sarawut warned.

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub

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