The Accident Investigation Unit extensively investigates motor vehicle crashes. It is often mistaken that every motor vehicle crash is accidental, but that is not always the case.  Motor vehicle crashes can sometimes include criminal intent, such as vehicular homicide, as well as other crimes where which a vehicle can be used as a weapon. When this occurs, it should be fully investigated. The Accident Investigation Unit is also called on to investigate and properly document crashes that involve serious bodily injury or death.

Accident Investigation involves analyzing a large amount of data from a crash scene. Although every police officer investigates motor vehicle crashes, our reconstructionists specialize in the gathering of all available data to best determine what occurred before, during, and after the crash.

The Columbus Police Department currently has two advanced accident reconstructionists who have attended the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) and completed  Accident Investigation 1 and 2 as well as Traffic Crash Reconstruction.  Each individual course consisted of 80 hours of both hands-on and classroom training.  IPTM provides management, traffic and specialized training to municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement officers. The Institute has since become the largest police training center of its kind in the United States.

There are several factors involved when a motor vehicle collision occurs. Listed below are several factors that an accident reconstructionist is responsible for investigating during a crash scene analysis.

  • Information from and about the people involved
  • Information from and about the vehicles
  • Measuring and Mapping the Collision Scene
  • Photographing the Collision Scene and Damaged Vehicles
  • Vehicle damage analysis: description and reporting
  • Vehicle behavior in accidents: understanding how and why vehicles behave as a result of a collision
  • Identify and interpret tire marks and road scars
  • Tire damage analysis: role of tire failure in accidents
  • Interpretation of data: use of all information obtained through investigation