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When are accident reports usually completed?

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  • When are accident reports usually completed?

    There was an accident that happened in a small town in West Virginia about three weeks ago. One of the drivers died as a result of the accident. My family has been trying to get a copy of the accident report from the sheriffs office but they said the deputy who responded to the accident is on military leave (he's in the guard) and the report is not complete yet. He won't be back for a couple weeks. My question is when are accident reports usually completed? My thought is that they are completed when the accident happened because you may forget some details three to four weeks later. Is it may be taking a lot longer because there was a fatality (90 y/o man) and a, possibly, drunk driver (18 y/o). Any help? Thanks in advance for any help!
    Last edited by tpbman121; 06-17-2014, 04:28 PM.

  • #2
    Here, an accident with injuries would be finished before the end of shift (even if that means OT) and a regular would be done before the officer is off for their "weekend". If it was a fatal, we would call in the state patrol's accident recon team, but if we worked it then it would fall under "before the end of shift". I find it odd that it wasn't finished before the officer left, but that's not to say he didn't do it and either forgot to submit it or it got kicked back by a supervisor for corrections. That happened to before where I did a burglary report and it got kicked back due to forgetting to put the picture captions. The initial report was done while my SGT was on leave, then I was on vacation when he came back so it didn't get approved for release for almost two weeks.
    Originally posted by Ceridwen
    Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

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    • #3
      When the officer has time to do so

      A fatal will probably take a week or so for most officers------------if it was "unusual" or complicated and the Technical Collision team was called in it might be much longer
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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      • #4
        Because of the potential for criminal charges, my agency is very exhaustive in doing a fatal investigation and you may be looking at several months before a report is ready. Much of that time is spent on reconstruction, which can be complex and time consuming.

        Even then, the report would only be released after the district attorney had reviewed it, filed criminal charges and given a copy to the accused as part of discovery, or if he had reviewed it and determined no charges would be filed.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          Because of the potential for criminal charges, my agency is very exhaustive in doing a fatal investigation and you may be looking at several months before a report is ready. Much of that time is spent on reconstruction, which can be complex and time consuming.

          Even then, the report would only be released after the district attorney had reviewed it, filed criminal charges and given a copy to the accused as part of discovery, or if he had reviewed it and determined no charges would be filed.
          That is the way it is basically handled in my area
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            What L1 said.

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            • #7
              +1 to the above posts.
              The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

              I Am the Sheepdog.


              "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
              that we are all that stands between
              the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


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              • #8
                Regular crashes are done by the end of shift or the next day. Fatals can take weeks. Usually one of our re constructionist diagrams the entire scene with lasers and computers. If he can't do it, we call in the F.A.R.T (fatal accident reconstruction team) to handle the invest.
                Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

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                • #9
                  As my colleagues have stated there many factors limiting how quickly the accident report is completed. A fatal obviously will be more involved than a fender bender. Youmentioned that it was a small town in WV so there is a good chance that the officer does not have immediate access to all the resources needed and he/she will need to obtain help from another agency such as the state police.
                  In God We Trust
                  Everyone else we run local and NCIC

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                  • #10
                    As you can tell, there are numerous factors involved in a fatal traffic accident investigation. Each reply is 100% correct, and the response from L-1 totally mirrors the policy of my Agency.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you officers. I was just curious and trying to get a few answers.

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                      • #12
                        When Are Accident Reports Usually Completed?

                        Originally posted by stormz5192 View Post
                        .....we call in the F.A.R.T (fatal accident reconstruction team) to handle the invest.
                        Too funny!

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                        • #13
                          You may face one other obstacle in getting a copy of the report.

                          I can't speak for West Virginia but in my state, traffic accident reports are not releasable to anyone who wants a copy. Instead, they can only be released to a "Party of Interest." This includes people like the owners, drivers of, or passengers in the involved vehicles, injured pedestrians, owners of other property that was damaged, persons who may incur civil liability arising out of the matter, attorneys representing those people, etc.

                          So unless you are a stakeholder in the matter, you might not be able to get a copy of the report.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                            You may face one other obstacle in getting a copy of the report.

                            I can't speak for West Virginia but in my state, traffic accident reports are not releasable to anyone who wants a copy. Instead, they can only be released to a "Party of Interest." This includes people like the owners, drivers of, or passengers in the involved vehicles, injured pedestrians, owners of other property that was damaged, persons who may incur civil liability arising out of the matter, attorneys representing those people, etc.

                            So unless you are a stakeholder in the matter, you might not be able to get a copy of the report.
                            ^^^^ Even more so if that report is going to be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution.

                            A fatal collision often enspires not only civil litigation but criminal charges. The prosecution is not going to want copies of their investigation product floating around to even stakeholders until those charges are flied or maybe litigated.
                            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                            • #15
                              In WV the report should not be released to anyone who does not have an interest. I say should not because these things end up getting released quite frequently anyhow.

                              To address the OP time frame question- Since there was a fatality the WVSP is most likely providing a ton on technical support to the local agency. Outside of the Metro Valley most departments have limited capabilities so the state troopers especially reconstructionists are in high demand. These things take time. Due to the fatality you will also find that the state ME office can slow down progress as well. In both cases it is a matter of too much work and too few qualified people.

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