Lottery-winning couple killed in road accident

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Udon Thani (The Nation/ANN) - A couple who made headlines last year when they won 42 million baht (US$1.40 million) died early yesterday of injuries sustained in a road accident on their way to a Valentine's Day celebration on Thursday night.

Sittichai Suwannalee, a Laotian student attending Assumption University, surrendered himself to police at the scene of the accident after his Porsche struck the couple's motorcycle in the border province of Udon Thani.

The 18-year-old student claimed the couple suddenly cut in front of him while his car was travelling at high speed and that he was unable to brake in time.

The young man said he had been in a hurry, as he planned to cross the Thai-Laotian border at Nong Khai before the checkpoint there closed.

Police later charged Sittichai with reckless driving causing death.

Nanta and Wimon Fakkhao sustained serious injuries in the accident, which took place shortly after 9pm on Thursday, and succumbed a few hours later at a hospital.

The couple made headlines last November when they were able to claim 42 million baht in prizes through winning lottery tickets that went unsold at their shop. They even appeared on a popular TV programme, "At Ten".

Nanta and Wimon had three sons.

"On Valentine's Day, they just told us that they wanted to have a granddaughter and to see all their three sons happily in love with their daughters in law," Nitikorn Fakkhao said of his parents.

According to Nitikorn, witnesses saw the Porsche drag the bodies of his parents for about 50 metres.

Wimon used to work as a court official. He joined the early-retirement programme a year ago and helped his wife run the lottery shop.

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