Police Identify Owner of SUV Involved in Deadly Hit and Run

Phnom Penh traffic police on Wednesday identified the owner of a Range Rover whose driver hit and killed an Irish national on Monivong Boulevard on Sunday.

The driver, who fled the scene, remains at large.

Tomas Beecher, 30, was walking his bicycle across Monivong Boulevard near the intersection of Street 278 in Boeng Keng Kang I commune at about 1:30 a.m. when the SUV broadsided him, killing him instantly.

Sem Kunthea, the deputy municipal traffic police chief in charge of the case, said the owner of the Range Rover is Hou Sila, deputy chief of the tourist police in Preah Vihear.

Mr. Kunthea also identified the tourist police official’s daughter, who is suspected of being the driver at the time of the crash, as 20-year-old Sila Ratanak. He said he questioned Mr. Sila on Sunday and Tuesday, and he denied that his daughter had killed the Irishman.

“He said that it was his daughter’s friend who was driving the car on the day of the accident and not his daughter,” Mr. Kunthea said, adding that Ms. Ratanak has not returned home since the night of the deadly accident.

“We want to arrest her but she ran away,” he said.

The white Range Rover, whose dented hood is still caked with Tomas Beecher’s dried blood, is being held at the municipal traffic police headquarters.

After the crash the damaged SUV began smoking, Mr. Kunthea said, at which point the driver pulled over and fled the scene with one or two other friends.

“I have finished preparing the [accident] report and I am going to send the report to the court now to get the arrest warrant,” he said Wednesday. “There are two people who we have to arrest: the daughter of the car’s owner and her friend.”

Contacted by telephone Wednesday, Mr. Sila said he did not know where his daughter was, and that he wasn’t sure whether she had been driving at the time of the accident.

“I have not yet received a clear report [on what happened]…. My daughter ran away,” he said, then hung up.

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