Collision Reconstruction Unit
The Division's Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) is comprised of individuals who have a niche for paying attention to detail. It is the Division's modern days equivalent to the popular television show Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). These dedicated men and women work behind the scenes of serious collisions and non-motor vehicle crime scenes looking for clues and collecting evidence to assess whether a crime has been committed. Their work truly begins after the "aiding the injured phase" is over. They certainly don't complete investigations within a one-hour show.
Reconstruction investigations necessitate meticulous concentration, coupled with efficiency, due to the location (usually on the roadway) requiring them to work fast. Once traffic patterns resume, the scene is lost forever. There are few second chances.
Their focus is to identify, collect and analyze roadway evidence such as tire marks, pavement gouges and debris patterns to gain clues, like pieces to a puzzle. It is equally important to determine what evidence is, or is not, at the scene since the police are generally not there when the collision happens.
CRU members use many tools to assist them with these investigations, including:
- electronic total work station.
- drag sled
- brake testing computer
- crash data retrieval system
- vehicle statistics software
- crush jig
Using these tools, the investigator can quickly and efficiently "forensically map" scenes the way they were found when emergency personnel first arrived. As a result, computer generated diagrams are constructed as visual aids for court.
Finally, expert opinions are developed by CRU members based on an interpretation of scene evidence, vehicle autopsies, interviews, injury patterns, toxicology results, speed calculations and driver history. The cause or causes of collisions are then compared to New York State law and decisions are made to criminally prosecute cases that break those laws.
CRU members give conservative unbiased, expert testimony in criminal and civil courts of law, allowing the jury to see what the police observed at the scene. These in-depth investigations provide the truth of how collisions occur and who is responsible.
The CRU is a no frills detail. It is the "guts and bolts" of collision investigation and crime scene forensic mapping. Remember, collisions only occur one way and the evidence tells the story!