This is the second installment of a three-part webinar series on the Investigation and Prosecution of Criminal Vehicular Homicide Cases. While the first course provided guidance and basic concepts to effectively investigate and manage vehicular incidents, this session focuses on evidence – collection, documentation, and preservation – and its critical role in the investigative process and prosecution.
This course’s instructors are Ron Mueller and John Schultz. Ron is a Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement where he supervises the Crime Scene and Latent Print sections. Meanwhile, John is with the Florida Highway Patrol where he serves as a Master Corporal assigned to the Florida Highway Patrol’s Traffic Homicide Advanced Investigation & Reconstruction Team.
Points discussed on this webinar are:
- The value of evidence and forensic science in vehicular cases to facilitate investigations where there typically isn’t a relationship amongst the involved parties.
- A recap of the first session that looks into:
- The investigator’s crucial role in creating accountability and finding answers to questions surrounding a vehicular incident.
- Case examples of different complexities and circumstances where effective investigative procedures and due diligence served the goal of creating accountability and finding answers.
- Documenting the scene and evidence in vehicular incidents.
- The various means of documenting – notes, photography, sketches, measurements, and 3D scans.
- The methods, techniques, and tools to comprehensively document the scene and evidence.
- The value of effective documentation in prosecution.
- Proper collection and preservation of evidence.
- Guidance on evidence collection, preservation, and chain of custody.
- Utilizing expert testimonies to verify the science behind the evidence and its worth.
- Establishing the Daubert Standard for the admissibility of new types of evidence and evidence analyses.
- The purpose of evidence preservation in prosecution and the consequences of improper evidence preservation.
- A rundown of the common forensic evidence collected in vehicle crashes, how each is collected and analyzed, the information that can be gleaned from each type, and its investigative and prosecutorial value.
- Pointers for when involved parties in a vehicular incident must be transported to a hospital.
- The importance of informing emergency and hospital personnel that clothing items must be collected for investigative purposes.
- Having someone keep an eye on a suspect brought to the hospital.
- Watching out for spontaneous utterances that may be leveraged as statements.
- Case examples were provided to demonstrate how various types of evidence were leveraged to make sense of car crashes and aid in prosecution.
Questions from the webinar attendees are about:
- The best note-taking method in car crash investigations.
- References to learn more about vehicular investigations evidence and concepts.
- Best practices in documenting the scene/evidence through photos or videos.
- How documenting weather conditions can aid investigations and sources for accurate documentation of weather/atmospheric conditions.
- Collecting and marking glass recovered from a scene.
This webinar is part of a series:
- Part 1: On-Scene Investigation
- Part 2: Forensics is Our Friend (this webinar)
- Dec 2: The Prosecution Rests
Resources and Handouts
- IPTM called Rapid Fire Crash Investigation according to the IBF Protocol by Stanley Bezuidenhout
- “This webinar gave good information. We are already doing most of the things that were talked about. It was informative.” — Constance
- “I liked the case study which included photos of fracture matching.” — David
- “I was aware of most of what was presented as I have been a crash investigator for several years. This is good material for someone just getting into the field though.” — Douglas
- “That DNA is so sensitive now that breathing on evidence is an issue and to remember to add what the atmosphere/weather was/is. Thank you for this informative webinar.” — Jennifer M.
- “I appreciated the case examples and just what to be cognizant for on scene and during an investigation.” — Jasmin