Article

In this case, a mother was struck and killed by an approaching SUV while jogging with her two children in a stroller. The driver of the SUV faced charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide while under the influence. Robson Forensic vehicle engineering expert, Tom Lacek, P.E., was retained to reconstruct the crash to determine the driver’s impact speed and the victim’s pre-impact location when the driver began to react to the impending collision.

Case Description

A mother was struck and killed by an approaching SUV while jogging with her two children in a stroller. The driver of the SUV may or may not have failed to stop at a Stop sign, causing the collision. Evidence of marijuana was found in the SUV. The driver of the SUV faced charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide while under the influence. Robson Forensic vehicle engineering expert, Tom Lacek, P.E., was retained to reconstruct the crash to determine the driver’s impact speed and the victim’s pre-impact location when the driver began to react to the impending collision.

Inspection of the incident vehicle and reconstruction of the crash revealed that the SUV struck the victim at a relatively low speed. Many components on the front of the SUV, including the bug deflector, front bumper cover, grille, headlight, and fog lights were made of plastic, but sustained no damage or displacement from the collision. By performing a fall and slide analysis for the victim our crash reconstruction expert determined that the impact occurred at a speed of about 13 mph.

By using the determined impact speed of 13 mph, our crash reconstruction expert was able to prove that the driver of the SUV reacted to the victim and started braking his vehicle before the victim left the sidewalk and entered the intersection.

The jury found the driver innocent of both vehicular homicide while under the influence and vehicular homicide. Supported by our expert’s findings, the driver was convicted of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

 

Featured Expert

Thomas P. Lacek, P.E.

Tom can piece together a vehicle from start to finish: the brake system, transmission, shocks, engine, power steering, air conditioning, fuel systems. He has 30 years experience in automotive engineering with expertise ranging from used and new vehicles to antiques and classics. His vehicle experience includes most areas of crashworthiness and vehicle engineering, including restraints, airbags, structures, seats, powertrain, brake systems, steering, and suspension.