Man in Wheelchair Killed in Riverfront Crash

A man was killed Thursday night when a speeding car, alleg­edly driven by an RCAF general’s son, smashed into a shop front on the busy restaurant section of Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh.

Det Veasna, whose yellow wheel­­chair and colorful personality were well known to locals, expats and riverfront business owners, took the full impact of the car as it swerved and mounted the pavement at around 11 pm .

Though revived at the scene of the accident, Det Veasna, 50, died later in Calmette Hospital. He left a wife and five children, three of whom also suffer from physical disabilities.

“The car was over speeding but I don’t know how fast,” Chev Hak, chief of the municipal traffic investigation bureau, said Friday.

Chev Hak said the car belonged to RCAF Brigadier General Khuon Sovun, deputy commander of the special military region that encompasses Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kompong Chhnang province.

The driver was knocked unconscious, but a young girl in the front passenger seat and three back-seat passengers were un­scathed, said Chev Hak. One un­conscious youth and the girl were later treated at Calmette.

Daun Penh district police officials said Friday that the car was racing on Sisowath Quay at around 100 km per hour when the driver lost control.

A Daun Penh district police official, who requested anonymity because of the powerful people in­volved in the accident, said the driver was Khuon Samnang, the son of Brigidier General Khuon Sovun.

Chev Hak said it is unclear who was driving and there is no criminal case. “Normally, when the victim does not complain they solve the case by paying compensation,” he said.

The Brigadier General has contacted the victim’s family to pay compensation, said Chev Hak.

At the crash site, veteran war photographer Al Rockoff quickly assisted Det Veasna, an old friend whom he first met in 1973, and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which re­vived him.

A streetside personality for decades, Det Veasna supported his family with the money he panhandled from visitors on the waterfront and at the national museum, friends said Friday.


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