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updated: 9/3/2012 8:02 AM

Red Bull heir suspected in deadly hit-and-run

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  • 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.

      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.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

BANGKOK -- A grandson of the creator of the Red Bull energy drink is suspected of driving the charcoal 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.

Police took Vorayuth Yoovidhya, believed to be in his late 20s, for questioning Monday after tracing oil streaks for several blocks to his family's gated estate in a wealthy neighborhood of the Thai capital.

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

The victim, Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, 47, was killed during a pre-dawn motorcycle patrol. Thai media reported that the car dragged the officer and his motorcycle for several dozen meters (feet) as it sped through the residential neighborhood.

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."

The Yoovidhaya family was ranked the 4th richest in Thailand this year by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $5.4 billion. Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhaya 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 a company that is a sole authorized importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.

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