Warrant sought for runaway bus driver

Police will seek an arrest warrant for the driver of a double-deck school bus which crashed in Prachin Buri on Thursday killing 13 pupils and three adults after he fled the horrific accident scene.

Police will ask a Prachin Buri court on Monday to approve a warrant for the arrest of Sompong sae Bae, 30, who is still at large, Pol Lt Col Anukarn Thammawijarn of Wangkhondang police station said on Sunday.

The native of Prachin Buri was driving a chartered bus loaded with students and teachers on a field trip from Nakhon Ratchasima province when it collided with an 18-wheel truck and then crashed into a tree on Highway 304 in Na Di district early Thursday morning. 

The bus owner, Mr Sompong’s employer, told investigators that he would contact the driver and accompany him to a police station by Sunday but he failed to show up. 

Police will charge him with reckless driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident. Police are checking to see whether Mr Sompong had a licence to drive a public transport vehicle and could file an additional charge against him, Pol Lt Col Anukarn added.  

Of the 15 people killed in Thursday’s accident, 12 were students and three were adults, two of them teachers. A total of 35 others were injured, five of them, all pupils, were seriously hurt and are still being treated in the intensive care unit of Maharaj Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital. A doctor at the hospital said four of them were in stable condition but one had a worrying condition with severe brain damage and is under close observation.

The crash involved pupils and staff from Ban Dong Lop School in Lam Thamenchai district of Nakhon Ratchasima who were on a field trip.  

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