Coach driver and his assistant fired for drug abuse

A tour coach driver and his assistant were dismissed by their company after they were tested positive for drug abuse following a road accident in Surat Thani on New Year’s Day.

Two passengers, one of them a 34-year old American tourist identified as Ms Mariana Muzzi Paredes, were slightly injured in the accident which took place on Highway 4142 in Don Sak district of Surat Thani.

The bus, with 35 passengers on board, were travelling from Krabi province to Don Sak pier in Surat Thani. The accident occurred at about 4.30pm.

Pol Col Sutthi Niti-akarapong, superintendent of Don Sak district police, said that police who arrived at the scene of the accident to investigate found the driver, 45-year old Samroeng Chomchuen, and his assistant, Amornthep Apairat, 22, acted suspiciously.

The duo were then subjected to urine tests at the scene which tested positive for drug abuse.  They were later escorted by police to Don Sak district hospital for more tests which confirmed earlier test results.

Pol Col Sutthi said the driver and his assistant would be sent to the provincial prosecutor to be indicated with drug abuse charge.  He added that the provincial land transport office would be informed of the conduct of the two men so that the driving license of the driver would be revoked.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Ruarew Lomphraya Company which owns the tour coach had decided to fire the two men effective as of Tuesday.

Surat Thani governor Witchavuth Jinto said land transport officials and police inquiry officers would consider whether the bus company should be held accountable for the drug abuse of its staffers.