Forensic Engineering Analysis of Projectile Thrown from Phantom Vehicle

Authors

  • Richard Ziernicki, PhD, PE, DFE Knott Laboratory
  • William Pierce, PE Knott Laboratory
  • Angelos Leiloglou Knott Laboratory

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51501/jotnafe.v37i1.118

Keywords:

Phantom vehicle, photogrammetry, projectile analysis, process of elimination, point cloud, material testing, semi, windshield damage, vehicle tracking pad, Phoenix

Abstract

This paper presents a case study involving an 8-lb “projectile” piece of concrete thrown from a phantom vehicle into the windshield of a semi-tractor truck, subsequently striking the driver’s (plaintiff’s) head. A witness told the investigating officer that the phantom vehicle was a white-rear dump truck similar to the trucks he’d seen coming in and out of a construction entrance at a nearby park. However, no follow-up investigation was conducted by investigative officers. The lead author was retained by the plaintiff’s attorney to follow up and investigate the witness’ observation of the phantom white-rear dump truck in an attempt to identify the probable source of the concrete projectile, locate the phantom vehicle, reconstruct the incident, and determine the probable cause of the incident. Several forensic engineering techniques were used during the forensic engineering investigation, including evidence analysis, photography, high-definition scanning, photogrammetry, evaluation of the accident timeline, physical testing, case study analysis, projectile analysis, and application of the process of elimination methodology. Through the forensic engineering analysis, the probable source of the projectile concrete was identified, the white-rear dump truck and driver were identified, the accident was reconstructed, and the probable cause of the accident was determined.

References

L. Wasser, “The Basics of LiDAR – Light Detection and Ranging – Remote Sensing,” National Science Foundation [Online]. Available: https://www.neonscience.org/lidar-basics [Accessed: October 28, 2020].

Omnexus: The material selection platform, “Styrene-Butadiene Rubber: Complete Technical Guide on SBR and its Features” [Online]. Available: https://omnexus.specialchem.com/selection-guide/styrene-butadiene-rubber-sbr-guide# [Accessed: October 15, 2020].

K. Breen and C. Anderson, “The Application of Photogrammetry to Accident Reconstruction,” SAE Technical Paper Series, 1986, Paper No. 861422.

M. Callahan, B. LeBlanc, R. Vreeland, and G. Bretting, “Close-Range Photogrammetry with Laser Scan Point Clouds,” SAE Technical Paper Series, 2012, Paper No. 2012-01-0607.

C. Coleman, D. Tandy, J. Colborn, and N. Ault, “Applying Camera Matching Methods to Laser Scanned Three Dimensional Scene Data with Comparisons to Other Methods.” SAE Technical Paper Series, 2015, Paper No. 2015-01-1416.

S. Fenton and R. Kerr, “Accident Scene Diagramming Using New Photogrammetric Technique,” SAE Technical Paper Series, 1997, Paper No. 970944.

R. Ziernicki and D. Danaher, “Forensic Engineering Use of Computer Animations and Graphics.” Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 1-9. Dec. 2006.

R. Ziernicki and A. Leloglou, “Newest Technologies Utilized in the Reconstruction of an Officer Involved Shooting Incident.” Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. (In Print).

R. Ziernicki, W. Pierce, and A. Leiloglou, “Forensic Engineering Usage of Surveillance Video in Accident Reconstruction.” Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, Vol. 31, No. 2, Dec., pp. 9-19, 2014.

F. Devernay and O. Faugeras, “Straight Lines Have to be Straight: Automatic Calibration and Removal of Distortion from Scenes of Structured Environments,” Machine Vision and Applications. Vol. 13. No. 1, 2001.

D. Danaher and R. Ziernicki. “Forensic Engineering Evaluation of Physical Evidence in Accident Reconstruction,” Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, Vol. 24, No. 2, Dec., pp. 1-10, 2007.

E. Hueske, Practical Analysis and Reconstruction of Shooting Incidents. Florida: CRC Press, 2006.

Consolidated Forensic Experts, “Lateral Angle Determination for Bullet Holes in Windshields,” 2016 [Online]. Available:http://www.expertwitnessnews.com/lateral-angle-determination-bullet-holes-windshields/ [Accessed 2017 July 5].

“PC-Crash (Version 11),” MacInnis Engineering Associates Ltd. [Online] Available: http://www.pc-crash.com/.

Downloads

Published

2021-01-08

How to Cite

Ziernicki, PhD, PE, DFE, R., Pierce, PE, W., & Leiloglou, A. (2021). Forensic Engineering Analysis of Projectile Thrown from Phantom Vehicle. Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, 37(1). https://doi.org/10.51501/jotnafe.v37i1.118

Issue

Section

Articles