THP team explains how they reconstruct a crash scene

THP team explains how they reconstruct a crash scene

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After the fatal accident, THP's Critical Incident Response Team spent hours at the scene looking for and recording evidence and interviewing witnesses. After the fatal accident, THP's Critical Incident Response Team spent hours at the scene looking for and recording evidence and interviewing witnesses.
In a crash, sometimes the vehicles will be weighed to help determine speed. The team also records the damage to the vehicles. Many photos are taken. In a crash, sometimes the vehicles will be weighed to help determine speed. The team also records the damage to the vehicles. Many photos are taken.
Trooper Randall Massengill has been with the Critical Incident Response Unit since 2007.. Trooper Randall Massengill has been with the Critical Incident Response Unit since 2007..

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) - Many questions remain unanswered about the deadly church bus wreck in Jefferson County, and a big part of the investigation is being able to reconstruct what happened.

Within the Tennessee Highway Patrol is a unit called the Critical Incident Response Team. The troopers are highly trained in the field of crash reconstruction.

After the fatal accident, THP's Critical Incident Response Team spent hours at the scene looking for and recording evidence and interviewing witnesses.

Trooper Randall Massengill has been with the unit since 2007. He says when they respond to any crash, they start their work by walking the scene searching for evidence.

"We will document and locate scene evidence, and we'll map that evidence," said Trooper Massengill.

The team uses an electronic monitoring device with a laser to make measurements.

"The device is used to document the evidence on the roadway tire marks, gauge marks, the damaged profiles of the vehicles," said Massengill.

In a crash, sometimes the vehicles will be weighed to help determine speed. The team also records the damage to the vehicles. Many photos are taken.

"Tail lights, headlights, anything colored like that sometimes will heat up and melt. That's just one thing we can look at and try to determine an area of impact," said Massengill.

Once all the evidence is collected, which can take days, the data is entered into a computer program which produces 2-D images of the scene. The image is an accurate to scale diagram, from this troopers can then see the images and determine what likely happened.

"We'll have the vehicles at final rest and then we can also take those vehicles and place them back on evidence, tire marks, gauge marks and that in itself is what we really try to do to reconstruct a crash," said Massengill.

According to THP's Critical Incident Response Team, depending on the crash, it can take one to six months to reconstruct the scene and make the final report.

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