Red Bull heir charged in Thai police officer's death

Thai police inspect a Ferrari owned by Vorayuth Yoovidhya, grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink.

Story highlights

  • Vorayud Yoovidhaya, 27, is a prominent member of one of Thailand's richest families
  • Police Sgt. Major Wichien Klanprasert was responding to a robbery when his bike was hit
  • Yoovidhaya claimed he was suddenly cut off by the police motorcycle, police say
  • Yoovidhaya's grandfather teamed with an Austrian businessman to create Red Bull

The grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink allegedly crashed his Ferrari into a Thai police officer, killing him, and then fled the scene, Bangkok police said Monday.

The controversy over the arrest of Vorayud Yoovidhaya, 27, who is a prominent member of one of Thailand's richest families, resulted in the suspension of a police officer accused of having another person pretend to have been driving Yoovidhaya's car.

Police Sgt. Major Wichien Klanprasert was responding to a robbery call when his motorcycle was hit by what a witness described as a black sports car at 5 a.m., according to Bangkok Police Maj. Gen. Parinya Jansuriya.

Investigators followed the path of leaked oil from the crash scene to Yoovidhaya's home, Jansuriya said.

Dozens of police surrounded the mansion before entering with a search warrant, where they found a badly damaged black Ferrari. The front was wrecked and its air bags deployed, Jansuriya said.

Yoovidhaya was taken to a police station for questioning and the car was seized by investigators, he said.

Yoovidhaya admitted driving the car and hitting the motorcycle, but he claimed he was suddenly cut off by the bike, according to Police Maj. Gen. Aunuchi Lekbumrung.

He has been charged with causing a death with negligence and hit and run, he said. Yoovidhaya was quickly released on a bond of 500,000 baht, about $16,000.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya has been charged with causing a death with negligence.

The man who had claimed to be driving was fined 6,000 baht, about $200, the Police Chief Kumronvit Thoopkrachang said.

Vorayud Yoovidhaya's grandfather, Chaleo Yoovidhaya, teamed with an Austrian businessman to create the Red Bull brand and products based on a Thai drink. His father, Chalerm Yoovidhaya, is an executive with the energy drink company.

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