Fort Myers Police announced that speed may have been a factor in the crash that killed five teens.
WINK News looked into how law enforcement investigates a crash scene and determines what went wrong.
“The accident scene tells you a lot of information about how a crash occurs,” Casey Breen said. Breen is a senior consultant at Engineering Systems Inc.
Investigating a crash scene
WINK News spoke to two accident reconstruction experts, neither of whom are taking part in the investigation. They explained that much like airplanes, most modern cars also have black boxes inside.
“It does require some sort of an event to start trigger to start recording that data. Typically, it’s an acceleration or deceleration. So hitting a pole, or hitting a curb or any other car is a sudden deceleration that typically tells the recorder, ‘Hey, something’s going on. Let me capture the previous 5, 10, 15 seconds or so,'” Breen explained.
William Fischer, a forensic engineer, said that these event data recorders can tell a great deal of information about what was happening with the car before, during, and after a crash.
“That’ll give you information. For example, the vehicle’s wheel speed, the vehicle engine RPM and the steering wheel position. For example, how many degrees it’s turned left or right, and if the brake pedal was depressed or not, and also the gas pedal position,” Fischer said.
Fischer uses a grid (similar to a tic-tac-toe board) to reconstruct crashes. The vertical columns include humans, vehicles and the environment. The horizontal rows fccus on before, during and after a crash.
“If we take the first row before the accident, which is one of the most important rows and what the humans were doing, or is there an impairment issue, or are they appropriately licensed? Or were they looking possibly? And is there any sort of other visibility issues,” Fischer said.
Fischer says investigators will look at speed and whether anything was wrong with the vehicle, including environmental impacts.
“The environment may or may not play a role in it as a faction of the roadway surface or a line-of-sight issue. If there’s visibility problems,” Fischer said.
Breen also explained that tire marks can help determine how fast a car was going. If there are any marks on the grass, he said that there could be a collection of grass and dirt near the end of the tracks if the car was braking.
On Thursday at 8 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held at the Texas Roadhouse where four of the teens worked. We are working to find out if it’s open to the public.
Funeral arrangements have been released for two of the teenagers who tragically lost their lives.
Gendron Funeral Home will be handling the service for Jesus Salinas. There is currently no time and date.
On Saturday, Jackson Eyre will have a viewing at 11 A.M. at Summit Church and a service at noon to follow at Shikany’s Bonita Funeral Home and Crematory.