Collision Reconstruction
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Collision Reconstruction Unit

The Division's Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) is comprised of 50+ dedicated men and women who have a niche for attention to detail. These highly trained individuals 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. This assists prosecutors with presenting all the facts during trial. Annually, we assist 100+ government agencies statewide.

Reconstruction investigations necessitate meticulous concentration, coupled with high yielding efficiency. Most scenes are located on roadways that cause untimely back-ups for motorists. This requires CRU members to work fast and constantly re-evaluate traffic management strategies to ensure delays are kept to a minimum throughout the on-scene investigation. Depending on the circumstances, CRU members may require portions of roadways to be closed for extended periods in order to identify and document each and every piece of evidence. Once roads are open, the pureness of the scene is lost forever. There are few second chances. The standardized list of steps to process a scene is long and arduous.

CRU members focus on the presence of physical evidence. They identify, collect and analyze tire marks, pavement scarring, vehicle damage and debris patterns to gain clues to a puzzle. Careful examination is given to those items found at and leading up to scenes.

Equipment

CRU members use many tools to assist them with these investigations, including:

  • Digital cameras
  • Electronic total work stations
  • Accelerometers
  • Drag sleds
  • Crash Data Retrieval software
  • Vehicle statistics software
  • Mathematical formulas
  • Forensic diagramming software
  • Go-Jak dollies
  • Staged collisions
  • Highly specialized training

Using these tools, investigators quickly and efficiently "forensically map" scenes as they existed when emergency personnel first arrived. This data is then taken back to offices and displayed in computer generated diagrams that become visual aids at trial. In the future, the CRU expects to show judges and juries three-dimensional animations of our most serious cases, so they can understand the dynamics of such tragic events.

Education

With hundreds of hours of training received annually, CRU members are court recognized experts who testify to professional opinions about what happened. The key to the program's continued success is the interpretation of scene evidence, vehicle autopsies, injury patterns, speed calculations, crash data retrieval results, toxicology results, and interviews. The cause(s) of collisions are then compared to New York State laws and decisions are made to criminally prosecute cases that violate those laws.

The CRU is a highly specialized expertise. CRU members give conservative, unbiased, expert testimony in criminal and civil courts of law. These in-depth investigations provide the truth of how collisions occur and who should be held responsible. Collision Reconstruction is the pinnacle of collision investigation and crime scene forensic mapping. Remember, scenes only occur one way and the evidence tells the story!