By Samantha Strong
FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) – Who did what, when and where are critical pieces to understanding what happened in a vehicle crash.
After officers arrive on the scene of an accident, whether it’s serious or not, a report is completed and information such as street names, time of day and names of drivers, is collected.
When the crash is serious or complex enough, the law enforcement agency may call for extra help from an accident reconstruction team that works to determine actions that led up to the crash, as well as the aftermath, to tell a complete story of the incident.
“When your loved one is killed in a crash, you need answers,” Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Rick Olig told The Reporter. “And for us to be able to say here’s what happened – good, bad or whatever – they get the truth from us.”
Accident reconstructionists aren’t called for every accident, according to Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Timothy Huibregste and Olig. But when criminal charges may be appropriate, where vehicle or roadway design may be a factor, or in special interest incidents they are summoned.
“Ultimately what has to happen is someone has to sit in the witness box and explain to jurors what happened,” Olig said.
In order to obtain the most accurate data from a crash scene, accident reconstructionists are equipped with high-tech tools and computer software.
Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nick Evans, who works on the accident reconstruction team, said it is typical for investigators to work backward from a crash scene and begin by figuring out the speed of each vehicle at the point of impact. It is easier for investigators to then use other information such as the length of tire marks to determine the vehicle’s speed prior to the crash, he said.1 2 3 next >>