Investigators simulate crash, study scene to sharpen skills

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jun 18, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hit and run cases are on the rise in Utah, and Salt Lake City Police Department officials said they're often difficult to solve.

A group of investigators from agencies across the Wasatch Front practiced collision investigation techniques on dummies Wednesday.

“We are going to simulate a pedestrian that's cross a roadway and a driver who is just driving down the roadway, and for whatever reason neither see each other,” said Sgt. Tom Potter with Salt Lake City Police Department.

Police officers said every piece of debris tells part of the story in an auto pedestrian accident. And details can be easily overlooked, especially at high stress and horrific crime scenes.

“This gives them the scene where they take the blood and all the gore away from it and just focus on the investigative skill necessary to resolve the case,” Potter said.

The cars are wired with cameras and sensors, which will gather information about what happens when the car and dummy collide and how the body moves in the crash.

Crime scene investigators said the information they gather is highly technical, but to be able to pair that information with what they can see will help them better understand real crime scenes.

“We are trying to determine that legal aspect of who contributed to the crash," Potter said. "Somebody had to do something wrong, or there wouldn't have been a crash."