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Accident Investigation . Patrol Officer Responsibilities. Accident Call Initiated. You should know… Location Severity Whether traffic or highway is blocked Make a decision on route. Response to the Scene. Determine if there is a true emergency If yes, use lights AND siren

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accident investigation

Accident Investigation

Patrol Officer Responsibilities

accident call initiated
Accident Call Initiated
  • You should know…
    • Location
    • Severity
    • Whether traffic or highway is blocked
  • Make a decision on route
response to the scene
Response to the Scene
  • Determine if there is a true emergency
    • If yes, use lights AND siren
    • If no, respond quickly but within all rules of the road
  • Adhere to all statutes:
    • 346.03
    • 346.04
    • 347.38
  • Follow all department policies
be alert
Be Alert!
  • Hit and run vehicles fleeing away from the accident
    • Excessive speed
    • Equipment malfunctions
    • Damaged parts
  • If possible, call out 28 and description but continue to the accident if you are the primary officer
arrival at the scene
Arrival at the Scene
  • Protect the scene
  • Be close
  • Be alert for hazards
    • Spills
    • Gases
    • Wires
  • Stay UPWIND AND UPHILL if there are potential hazmat danger!!!!
first assessment
First Assessment
  • Look around
  • Request additional…
    • Officers if
      • There is more than one vehicle involved
      • Roads need to be closed and traffic re-routed
    • Fire if smoke, spills, or hazmat exists
    • Ambulance if people appear injured or killed (one ambulance for every injured person)
    • Wreckers
    • Rescue
care for the injured
Care for the Injured
  • This is the primary responsibility of the responding officer
  • Protecting the scene from secondary crashes must be done first
  • Triage first, treat serious injuries first
  • Turn over treatment to EMS with a report
determine if hit and run
Determine if Hit and Run
  • Obtain description of vehicle
    • Use CYMBAL
    • Get direction of travel and time of accident
    • Description of driver and occupants if possible
    • Don’t forget the license plate!!!
  • Send out ATL
  • Preserve all evidence
locate and interview accident participants
Locate and Interview Accident Participants
  • Interview all drivers, pedestrians, or other INVOLVED in the accident
    • Keep them separated
    • Ask each, “What happened?”
    • Get basic information from all (name, DOB, etc..)
    • Keep an open mind
  • Tell each party that you will be talking with them again to follow up
specific questions
Specific Questions
  • Remember to maintain constitutional issues
  • Determine:
    • OWI?
    • Injured?
    • Tired?
    • Physically disabled?
    • Suicidal or other unusual behavior?
  • Also ask:
    • Insurance information
    • Seat belt
    • Occupant identities
interview hints
Interview Hints
  • Interview separately
  • Do the interviews as soon as possible after the accident
  • Question them regarding
    • Their trip plan
    • When they first perceived danger
    • What he or she was doing just before the accident
    • How fast were they going
    • What evasive action if any, they took
    • Condition of the vehicle
  • Look inside the vehicle later for evidence of Inattentive Driving or OWI
interview witnesses
Interview Witnesses
  • Ask each of them open-ended questions
    • “What happened?” or “What did you see?”
    • Where were you
    • What called your attention to the accident?
    • How fast were the vehicles going?
    • Did you see brake lights?
    • Did you hear braking noise?
  • Remember to get basic information for follow-up interviews and for court as most will be anxious to get going!
check the scene for physical evidence
Check the Scene for Physical Evidence
  • In some situations, the evidence may be disappearing so you may have to act quickly to preserve it
  • Skid marks
    • Straight skids
    • Shadow skids
    • Other skids
  • General vehicle crush
  • Debris on the roadway
evidence continues
Evidence continues
  • Gouges on the roadway
  • Fluids
  • Traffic signs and devices
  • Lamp examination
  • Road conditions
  • OWI and drug use evidence
specific vehicle evidence
Specific Vehicle Evidence
  • Contact damage
  • Induced damage (typically crumbling or broken glass)
  • Vehicle equipment violations
    • Brakes
    • Lights
    • Tires
  • Light switch position
  • Airbag deployment
photograph the scene
Photograph the Scene
  • Seriousness determines need for photos
  • Prior to vehicles being moved if possible
  • Photograph
    • Overall scene
    • Vehicle damage
    • Traffic signs and controls
    • Road gouges
    • Skid marks
    • Debris
    • Injured parties or bodies
  • Video record all serious or fatal accidents
measure the scene
Measure the Scene
  • Use the XY coordinate system
  • Complete a field sketch
    • Outline the roadway edges first
    • Add vehicles final resting points (if known)
    • Add skid marks
    • Add other evidence
  • Measure all evidence locations and roadway features including crosswalks, signs, ditches, shoulders, etc…
clear up accident scene
Clear Up Accident Scene
  • Tow all vehicles
  • Clean up all glass and parts
  • Open road to traffic
  • Make arrangements to transport parties left without vehicles
take appropriate enforcement action
Take Appropriate Enforcement Action
  • Arrest
  • Cite party most at fault for the violation that most contributed to the crash
  • Almost all accidents should result in a citation for the party that was at fault
  • Remember to consider all factors in the investigation

NOTE!!!! Don’t investigate accidents where there is a conflict of interest

complete accident report
Complete Accident Report
  • Note the criteria for reportable accidents
    • $1000 vehicles (including gov vehicles)
    • $1000 personal property
    • $200 government property
    • Injury
    • Fatality
  • Complete within 10 days
  • Include diagram
  • Possible contributing factors are some of the most important fields…