A district Forestry Administration chief in Preah Vihear province fled the scene after killing three students when he crashed his car into a motorbike on Sunday afternoon while allegedly under the influence of alcohol, a senior police officer told The Post on Monday.
Deputy Choam Ksan district police chief Mai Puth said the incident occurred on Road 69B in Sro’em Tbong village in Choam Ksan district’s Kantuot commune.
Put identified the hit-and-run driver as Kem Chet Thavit, the head of the Forestry Administration in Choam Ksan district. He fled from accident scene without taking responsibility, Put said.
“The offender has not shown up to face the law, but we know his name and place of work. We haven’t arrested him yet, but his car and the motorbike are being kept at the police station,” he said.
Puth said two of the victims were killed instantly, while the other died on the way to the hospital.
The three victims were identified as Chamroeun Narong, 17, from Teuk Krahom commune, Keo Narath, also 17, who lived in Choam Ksan commune, and Chou Nak, 16, from Kantuot commune.
Puth said before the incident, the three students were riding a black 2018 Honda Dream, having just left a school exercise period, and were going to the market to buy sports gear.
On their way home from the market, they were hit by Chet Thavit’s Ford Ranger, Puth said, which had turned left carelessly without checking if the road was clear.
According to an expert who inspected the crime scene, Chet Thavit was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Choam Ksan district traffic office chief Chem Methea said the driver of the car was to blame because, before turning left, he should have waited for any vehicles driving in the opposite direction.
“I am building a case to be sent to the provincial court. But for now, the victims’ families are preparing funerals. I need to wait for the funerals to be completed first before asking the families to file a lawsuit in the court,” Methea said.
Preah Vihear provincial Agriculture Department chief Poeng Trida told The Post on Monday that he had not received any update about the incident, but that he would summon Chet Thavit for questioning.
“Yesterday was my day off and I need to have a meeting first because I haven’t had a chance to gather every piece of information,” he said.
Lor Chan, the Preah Vihear provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, told The Post on Monday that drunk driving and driving recklessly resulting in a person’s death are serious crimes.
Fleeing a crime scene to avoid responsibility is yet another crime, he said, and the punishment is very severe.
“He killed others because of his [dangerous] driving. He is a government officer and he should try to solve the problem in accordance with legal procedures. He shouldn’t run away like this,” he said.