A grandson of the creator of the Red Bull energy drink has been arrested for driving a Ferrari that struck a police officer and dragged his dead body down a Bangkok street in an early morning hit-and-run, police said Monday.
Police took Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, for questioning after tracing oil streaks for several blocks to his family's gated estate in a wealthy neighbourhood of the Thai capital.
He was facing charges of causing death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest by police but was released on a 500,000 baht ($15,900 US) bail.
Vorayuth admitted he drove the charcoal grey sports car but said the police officer's motorcycle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle, said police Maj. Gen. Anuchai Lekbamroong.
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 Ferrari with a badly damaged front bumper.
The victim, Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, 47, was killed during a motorcycle patrol before dawn. Media reported that the car dragged the officer and his motorcycle for several metres as it sped through the neighbourhood.
Comronwit said he suspended the police officer who attempted to subvert the investigation.
"A policeman is dead. If I let this case get away, I'd rather quit," he said. "I don't care how powerful they are."
A family lawyer for Vorayuth Yoovidhya said the family will be take responsibility for the damages.
The Yoovidhaya family is ranked fourth richest in Thailand by Forbes magazine.