Drowsy Police Officer Crashes Car Into US Embassy

A Phnom Penh police officer who reportedly fell asleep at the wheel Sunday lunchtime crashed his Toyota Camry into the chain-linked bollards surrounding the US Embassy, overturning his vehicle and hitting an ambulance in the process, police said Tuesday.

Sok Soroath, a police officer with the Phnom Penh Municipal Minor Crimes Bureau, sustained a minor injury, said Pen Khun, deputy police chief of the city’s traffic bureau.

“[Sok Soroath] didn’t drive carefully,” he said, adding that the crash was not considered a deliberate act since the driver was a police officer. “If he was someone else, he would be under suspicion and would have been arrested,” Pen Khun added

Sok Soroath could not be contacted for comment but traffic police officer Heng Sambath, who witnessed the crash and roll, said that Sok Soroath’s car dented the door of a Calmette Hospital ambulance when it bounced off the em­bassy bollards and turned over.

“[Sok Soroath] just got injured in the mouth when he hit the [steering] wheel,” he added.

Heng Taykry, Calmette Hospital director and secretary of state for the Health Ministry, confirmed Tuesday that an ambulance was damaged and that his staff informed him that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol.

Minor Crime Bureau police chief Song Ly confirmed that Sok Sor­oath was one of his officers, but did not know whether Sok Soroath was inebriated or on duty at the time of the accident.

In any case, Song Ly said, “overturning a car in an open place like this—it is never appropriate.”

US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle said that no US property was damaged and that it was now a matter for the municipal police to handle.

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