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Red Bull founder's grandson arrested for allegedly killing Thai officer in Ferrari hit-and-run

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, is taken by a plain-clothes police officer for investigation Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. Vorayuth, believed to be in his late 20s, is suspected of driving a Ferrari that struck and killed a policeman and then dragged the officer's body down a Bangkok street in an early-morning, hit-and-run accident, police said Monday. AP Photo

Vorayuth Yoovidhya (right), a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, is taken by a plain-clothes police officer for investigation Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.
AP Photo
(CBS/AP) BANGKOK - The grandson of the creator of the Red Bull energy drink has been arrested for allegedly hitting a police officer with his Ferrari and then dragging his body down a Bangkok street, police said Monday.

Police took Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, in for questioning in the officer's death after tracing oil streaks for several blocks to his family's gated estate in a wealthy neighborhood of the Thai capital.

He was facing charges of causing death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest by police but was released on bail of 500,000 baht ($15,900).

The victim, Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, was 47.

Vorayuth admitted he drove the charcoal gray sports car but said the police officer's motorcycle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle, said police Maj. Gen. Anuchai Lekbamroong, the lead investigator in the case.

Bangkok's top police official, Lt. Gen. Comronwit Toopgrajank, said he took over the investigation after a lower-ranking policeman initially tried to cover up the crime by turning in a bogus suspect. Comronwit led a team of officers to search the compound of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, who was one of Thailand's wealthiest men before he passed away this year. Police confiscated a Ferrari with a badly damaged front bumper and broken windshield.

Comronwit said he suspended the police officer who attempted to subvert the investigation.

"A policeman is dead. I can't let this stand. If I let this case get away, I'd rather quit," he told reporters. "I don't care how powerful they are. If I can't get the actual man in this case, I will resign."

Vorayuth did not speak to the media but the family's lawyer said the family will take responsibility for the damages.

The Yoovidhya family was ranked the fourth richest in Thailand this year by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $5.4 billion. Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhya died in his 80s in March, leaving his heirs a wide range of businesses, including shares in the globally popular energy drink brand, hospitals and real estate.

The family also co-owns the sole authorized importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.

  • Crimesider Staff

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