Grandson of Red Bull Creator Arrested for Hit-and-Run Crash that Killed Police Officer in Bangkok

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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.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya claims that a motorcycle police officer that was killed had cut in front of his Ferrari when he was hit near the intersection of Soi 47 and Sukhumvit road, Bangkok. Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, 47, was killed during a motorcycle patrol before dawn, and dragged more than the length of a football field. The vehicle was discovered in the garage of a home of Chaleo Yoovidhaya with a shattered windshield and moderate front-end damage.

A police officer on the case was suspended after it was discovered that he arrested a bogus scapegoat suspect (a Yoovidhya family driver) to protect the family name. Oil streaks from the damaged Ferrari marked the street from the crime scene to the garage and led to the offending vehicle.

Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhaya, thought to be about 89-years-old, died on March 17, 2012. Yoovidhaya left his heirs a wide range of businesses, including shares in the globally successful Red Bull energy drink brand, local hospitals, real estate properties, and the sole authorized importer business of Ferrari vehicles in Thailand.

The original drink, Krating Daeng and precursor to Red Bull, was introduced in 1976. The export version “Red Bull” was launched in 1987. Red Bull® contains water, cane sugar, caffeine, taurine, inositol and B-vitamins. Krating Daeng sales soared across Asia in the 1970s and 1980s, especially among truck drivers, construction workers and farmers. Red Bull® sales are currently about 4.5 billion cans per year.

Health concerns exist over the effects of consumption, especially excess consumption, on the cardiovascular system; but the conclusions are mixed. The drink has also been scrutinized over behavior and hazards regarding mixing Red Bull® with alcohol beverages. Vorayuth was transported to Police General Hospital for a blood-alcohol test, but no word on intoxication has been released. Charges so far are related to reckless driving and failure to report the accident.

Ironically, studies have shown that Red Bull® Energy Drink significantly improves driving performance and reduces driver sleepiness during prolonged highway driving.

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