Olivier Gabriel Robert Aunay
On Koh Samui, a French restaurant owner died at the scene after crashing his scooter into the side of another motorbike which was attempting to cross in front of him. Police have yet to determine who was at fault.
Pol Capt Supit Chopaga, deputy investigator at Koh Samui Provincial Police Station, Surat Thani province, confirmed the details of the fatal accident. “On Tuesday evening at 17:25, we received a notification of a road accident between two scooters during which one of the two riders, a French national, was killed,” announced Pol Capt Supit .
Police named the victim as Olivier Gabriel Robert Aunay, a 54-year-old French restauranteur. Investigators revealed that Mr Aunay owned several French restaurants, most of them in Lamai on the east side of the island.
The fatal crash took place at 17:19 on Thawee Ratphakdee Rd, also known as Highway 4169 or Ring Rd, in Moo 1 of Mae Nam subdistrict. Ironically, the scene of the accident was less than 50 metres from the Mae Nam Police Service Center.
After being notified of the accident, Pol Capt Supit, some of his team and rescue volunteers of the local Gusonsongkroh Rescue Foundation scrambled to the crash site. “The body of Mr Aunay was lying in the middle of the road. He was already dead when we arrived,” Pol Capt Supit told media representatives.
Mr Aunay’s scooter, a dark blue and white Honda PCX with Surat Thani license plate 1กธ 121, was found about 20 metres down the road, police said. Exactly how the crash occurred was revealed after police investigators took a close look at the footage from a nearby CCTV camera around 50 metres from the scene.
The clip, which has since been made public, shows a navy blue motorbike slowly driving out of a side street and attempting to cross the first lane of Thawee Ratphakdee Rd to join the traffic heading westward on the second lane. The motorbike belonged to 30-year-old Mr Bongpob Pinpat whose house is located on the street he had just coming from, as police found out.
Once Mr Bongpob had made it to the centerline, Mr Aunay’s scooter can be seen coming from the west at high speed and crashing into the side of Mr Bongpob’s vehicle. Both riders fell off their bikes; Mr Aunay’s motorbike skidded about 20 metres further.
Despite wearing a crash helmet, Mr Aunay suffered severe head injuries when he landed face down on the asphalt. He breathed heavily for about two minutes, but eventually succumbed to his injuries, police said.
“When we arrived on the scene, Mr Bongpob was waiting in a state of shock on the side of the road,” Pol Capt Supit said. “He told us that he had just left his home and tried to get to the other side of the road when he suddenly saw Mr Aunay approaching from his right.” Police quoted Mr Bongpob as saying that the deceased abruptly braked while approaching him in the centre of the road and then fell off his motorbike.
Gusonsongkroh rescue workers wrapped the Frenchman in a white shroud and transported his body to Koh Samui Hospital where medical examiners will conduct further physical examinations.
In the hours following the accident, police talked to a friend of Mr Aunay’s whom police did not name. “According to him, Mr Aunay was the owner of several French restaurants on the island. He had just settled a deal to buy a restaurant in Mae Nam subdistrict which belonged to a German national and was on his way back when the accident occurred,” the Inspector said.
Minutes before he died, he reportedly called his friend and told him that he was “taking a shortcut back to avoid traffic on his regular route”. This phone call was the last time Mr Aunay was heard alive, police said.
Police are now in the process of gathering more evidence and intend to re-analyse the CCTV footage. “We will talk to eyewitnesses to find out which of the two riders was at fault and if necessary, press charges,” Pol Capt Supit said. The French Embassy in Bangkok has already been notified of Mr Aunay’s death.
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