Achievements and Results

- Crash reconstructed

- Testimony provided at trial

- Respective criminal offenses charged


The Problem

Sometimes motor vehicle accidents are exceedingly difficult to reconstruct, depending on circumstances. Without a successful reconstruction of the details of the accident, insurance companies cannot determine fault, courts cannot determine potential DWIs, and so on.

In this particular case, a police department required a consultant to act as a Police Traffic Homicide Investigator. He responded to a Serious Injury / Fatality Accident in which two Sport Utility Vehicles had collided. Witness accounts were futile in aiding in the investigation. The respective drivers had no recollections of the crash, their direction of travel, or speeds prior to the crash. With a traffic control signal present, it was necessary in the investigation to determine direction of travel for each vehicle prior to the crash, proper operation and timing of the signal, pre-impact speeds, and driver fault.


The Solution

This expert reconstructionist utilized multiple tactics to reconstruct the crash.

First, skid marks were tested and the evidence was used to determine crash speeds. Next, determination and inspection of Principle Direction of Force (PDOF) established the alignment at impact. Principles of conservation of linear momentum reaffirmed the PDOF analysis along with impact speeds. From this, pre-crash travel directions were determined, and vector quantities were used to confirm the previous findings.

Finally the patterns of the vehicles’ crush and deformation were compared to Federal Crash Test results, to determine how far off the norm the crash was.

In determination of proper operational status of the traffic signal, light timing sequences and triggers were compared to actual inputs by the Highway Department. The timing sequences were also considered, taking roadway design and daily traffic amounts into account. Video reenactment tests of the timing sequence were conducted; these helped confirm proper timing and operation, and also exposed driver fault. 

Lastly, all roadway lighting, signs, lane markings, sight distances, and roadway design were inspected to ensure compliance with standards.

As a secondary investigation, the consultant was also tasked with investigating possible DWI offenses. As a Police DWI Instructor and Practitioner, the expert completed DWI investigations and successfully charged each driver with respective Criminal Offenses.


Benefits Realized

In this case, the consultant was able to take a crash where almost no information was known, and determine many important aspects of what had happened, including Principle Direction of Force, pre-crash travel directions, and speeds prior to the crash. In addition, the consultant completed an inspection of the operational status of the traffic signal, as well as all nearby roadway lighting, lane markings, etc.

Finally, the consultant presented the results and gave testimony at the trial.

To see the resume of the expert associated with this case study, see the link below.

Resume of VUG Accident Reconstruction, Accident Investigation Expert Consultant Resume


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