On Wednesday, Channel 3 got an exclusive inside look at what goes into reconstructing a crash scene.
The Connecticut State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Squad (CARS) has seven investigators who respond to crashes throughout the state at any time.
“We are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said CT State Police Trooper Mark DiCocco.
Whether it’s in the middle of the night, or when the weather is bad, or when a crash is serious or deadly, they respond.
"That's us. Our primary function is to reconstruct collisions,” DiCocco said.
Trooper DiCocco has been in law enforcement for 17 years, and has been on the specialized squad since 2004.
"On an average week, we may respond to 2, 3 or 4 serious injury or fatal motor vehicle crashes unfortunately,” DiCocco said.
Being part of the seven-member team, he has undergone over 600 hours of training in applied physics, reconstruction, surveying, forensic mapping and more.
"We want to be as thorough as possible,” Trooper DiCocco said, adding that the point is to "give answers to the courts and most importantly to family members as to what happened in a serious injury of a fatal motor vehicle crash."
To do that, it takes analyzing evidence left behind in the car, on the ground, or before the aftermath.
About 85 percent of cars have computers that record information about when your airbag goes off, and it is information that can help.
"So it will give us pre-impact speed, how severe the crash was, steering angle,” DiCocco said.
However, it’s certainly not always as simple as pulling data from a CARS computer.
“We also conduct post forensic mechanical inspections where we find out a mechanical issue may have contributed to the crash,” DiCocco said.
That can include the braking and acceleration systems.
One of the main questions people will have is "how fast were they going at the time of the crash."
There are measurements to take if tracks are left behind but it takes a team effort and some technology.
"This is survey GPS equipment. This will help us down the road when we're creating scaled diagrams of the actual accident scene in terms of reconstructing the crash,” DiCocco said.
So, if you're waiting in traffic for a crash thinking well why is it taking so long? Processing a crash scene can take four to seven hours and sometimes more depending on the severity, but there is even more work on analyzing all the data they collect on the back end.
“We look at every single angle and try to provide the most answers for any potential questions that a jury may have, a potential victim’s family and ultimately the public,” DiCocco said.
It's not just about how long the road is shut down. The men and women work tirelessly day and night to find the results of a crash or accidents to make sure family members at home know exactly what happened to a loved one.
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