Five tourists returning home from a holiday in Phuket were killed yesterday morning when their minivan slammed into the back of an 18-wheel truck on a highway in Cha-am District, Petchaburi province.
The minivan driver, Uthen Faksaeng, 34, is in police custody and will be charged with causing death by negligent driving, police say.
The 10 passengers of the van were all employees of the Siam Commercial Bank branch at Pratunam in Bangkok. Mr Uthen told the Nation Channel he had been hired by the group to drive them to Phuket and back for a short holiday.
The accident happened around 5:30am at kilometer 1 on the Bangkok-bound lane of the Cha-am bypass road in Cha-am Municipality.
Mr Uthen said that he had been blinded by oncoming lights just before the accident and lost sight of the road.
When he recovered his vision, the minivan was hurtling toward the back of the truck.
Mr Uthen was unable to brake in time to stop the crash, he said.
The front of the Toyota minivan was crushed in the collision, which threw some of the passengers out onto the road.
Three of the group, Thanakorn Bunlap, 28, Thirawat Thonglo, 30, and Saranrat Tangjit, 32, were killed instantly.
Rescue foundation workers had to use “jaws of life” cutting tools to free the injured passengers from the wreckage.
Two of them, Kanpapruek Chanmanun, 32, and Saratkon Usap, 30, died of their injuries in hospital.
The remaining five were not seriously injured.
Mr Uthen expressed regret over the accident.
Cha-am Police have taken him into custody and say they will charge him with causing death and injury by negligent driving.