A driver who killed three people on Monday as he plowed through motorists in an attempt to flee another collision was fighting for his life on Tuesday after being set upon by an angry mob, while other injured victims recovered in two Phnom Penh hospitals.
Two women and a man died instantly when the driver, racing away from an earlier crash, sent motorbikes and bodies flying across Monivong Boulevard as he rampaged down the wrong lane. Dozens of men then dragged him from the car and nearly beat him to death.
Lying in a bed inside the emergency unit at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital on Tuesday, the driver, who was identified by police and hospital staff as Meas Sok Heng, a 30-year-old telephone seller from Meanchey district, was in “very serious condition” after the brutal mob beating.
Mr. Sok Heng—misidentified by police on Monday as Nai Bunthorn, who is the owner of the car—moved very little and his face remained black and blue, so swollen that his eyes were barely visible.
“He’s injured almost everywhere, including his head and body,” said Chhoeung Yav Yen, the hospital’s deputy director. “He is in a very serious condition.”
Just meters away from Mr. Sok Heng, in a stuffy corridor on the emergency wing, Pal Sambou, 17, who sustained serious head injuries when he was mowed down while en route to Pannasastra University for an English class, was lying in a coma.
His mother, Chan Thavy, 49, said her son had a blood clot on his brain and his condition was grave. “He’s still in a coma and the doctor said he’s not sure how many days he’ll be like this,” she said. “I don’t know what to say. I just want to see my son get better.”
Three people injured in the rampage were recovering in Calmette Hospital on Tuesday, including 16-year-old Chim Raksmey, whose head and leg were injured in the incident.
“There were a lot of people at that time and it was crowded, so we did not know how to escape. He crashed into two or three motorbikes before he crashed into my motorbike,” he said.
“It’s so cruel. I’ve never seen this kind of incident,” he added. “He crashed while invading the opposite lane.”
Tin Vansy, chief of municipal traffic accident inspection unit, identified the three dead as Voang Soknak, 35, of Kompong Cham province, who was driving his wife, Seng An, 25, and her niece, Na Sreynin, 23, who lived in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district.
Although Mr. Sok Heng was not expected to recover from his injuries, Mr. Vansy said police still planned to file a case against him with the municipal court.
“People beat him so hard on the head and there is blood flowing into his brain. There is little hope that he will recover,” he said.
“Even if he is in serious condition, he has to face legal action,” Mr. Vansy said.
“We are filing the case and will send it to the court in order for the court to take legal action.”