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DNA test for seating position in MVA

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  • DNA test for seating position in MVA

    Hypothetically, let
    Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

  • #2
    I almost seized an airbag in a dangerous driving investigation. The idea was to remove the air bag and swab it for DNA. In my case the bad guy coffessioned and saved me a bunch of work.

    I would think that with an air bag deployment your going to the skin cells/blood in the area with the expanding air bag would connect with the face, but if people bounced around it my taint everything.

    If the car was cut into two and the people were buckled up were ejected there might be DNA on the shoulder strap from their necks.

    I got lucky and didn't have to do it.

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    • #3
      If both occupants are DOA, why bother? Let the insurance company worry about it.(and pay for the tests) Leave the high tech BS to CSI Miami. The taxpayers and your chief will thank you. Case closed.

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      • #4
        Other than DNA on the airbags I don`t think you`ll have much luck. But theres always fibre lifts from the seats matching clothing to seating positions. Its also a lot cheaper. We tend to use that a lot over in the UK. Hope that helps.

        Nigel.

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        • #5
          You guys are going all CSI on this one, LOL! How about something as simple as fingerprints. Most guys drive their car and don't let anyone else get in the drivers seat. You print the driver's inside door handle and the passenger's inside door handle and the steering wheel. If this prooves inconclusive then jump to the fancy stuff.
          "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

          For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

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          • #6
            My partner is working a similar case right now. Only its to place the driver of the second vehicle behind the wheel. He has admitted to being in the car but someone else was driving. She did a search warrant with DOJ last week and went through the car but came away with very little. Our MAIT unit is doing a damage analysis on the vehicle to see if the damage is consistent with the injuries sustained by the suspect. Shes working on another search warrant to get a blood sample from the suspect.
            Cowboys in town. Trouble expected.

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            • #7
              My department did this about three years ago...

              We had a crash where a guy (who was revoked) was driving extremely recklessly on a county highway. Car left the roadway, struck a parked vehicle and rolled. It resulted in critical injuries to two occupants, the suspect/driver had minor injuries, and one passenger was killed. The driver alleged he wasn't driving and really stuck to his story. The surviving passengers had head injuries and no recollection of the crash or not enough recollection to rely on in court.

              The investigators removed sections of the vehicle interior where there was blood and body material deposited on the car. The DNA testing that was conducted resulted in showing that the seating positions hypothesized by the investigators was correct. The jury returned a very quick guilty verdict on the suspect.

              As far as I know that was the first try we've had at doing that. Also, the testing wasn't done until months after the crash, but still had successful results.
              Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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              • #8
                There are a number of issues that occur when driver identification is required in a vehicle accident where occupant location is unknown.

                I would look at a number of factors:

                1. Pre and post incident dynamics.
                2. Occupant kinematics based on vehicle dynamics.
                3. Injury analysis based on comparison with occupant kinematics.
                4. Interior contact analysis based on occupant kinematics.

                If the above leads you to conclusions regarding the occupant contact in the vehicle and precludes cross contamination then I suggest obtaining a search warrant for the samples of the subjects hair and blood for DNA analysis. I also would recommend that if you don't have the vehicle impounded for evidence that you do so and then obtain a search warrant for the entire vehicle for evidence gathering.

                Based on my experience, cross contamination of blood evidence within the vehicle will be your biggest hurdle to overcome prior to obtaining successful prosecution.

                To have DNA analysis done without being able to provide evidence of placement and elimination of cross contamination would be a waste of time and money. It sounds like you will need an accident reconstructionist or a detective experienced in reconstruction.

                Have you established a 24 hour time line for all of the occupants? Can you re-interview any witnesses or back track the subjects actions during the evening?

                Without much information it's difficult to make any decent suggestions to help you.
                Job description as told by an old timer: "Drive fast cars, look at pretty women, and drink coffee".

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                • #9
                  I appreciate all the suggestions and help.

                  Actually, I am an accident reconstructionist and have done most, if not all, of the things mentioned. However, I have also been instructed by a member of my department
                  Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

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                  • #10
                    I am just finishing a case which DNA was used as a means of determining occupant location.

                    I obtained a search warrant for the subjects blood and hair samples and then obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and removed portions of the vehicle (including airbags) where blood / saliva was present. All samples were submitted to DOJ for testing.

                    What questions do you have?
                    Job description as told by an old timer: "Drive fast cars, look at pretty women, and drink coffee".

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