The above video is somewhat tangential to this week’s Bulletin topic but it does describe a trend that will certainly be used and useful in future vehicular accidents – the car black box. For our below article, however, we stick to old fashioned ground pounding to uncover the true facts of a real accident puzzler.
Generally, most private investigators enjoy and prefer to maintain, good relationships with law enforcement; especially considering that the majority of us come from an l.e. background. Regardless of current or past affiliations, however, a good investigator is a fact-finder first.
We recently ran into a quirky situation involving the police with a hit and run of a pedestrian in mid Manhattan. The actions of law enforcement from the date and time of the accident to this day are puzzling.
A male pedestrian was struck, while crossing the roadway, traveling with the light and within the crosswalk, by first a bus and then a Jeep. A large crowd gathered. The pedestrian suffered severely crushed legs – injuries consistent with being struck by two vehicles back to back. The bus took off (hence the hit and run designation) but the Jeep and its driver remained on scene – for a while. The Jeep driver was questioned by police and told to leave the scene as there was no eyewitness to the Jeep having struck the pedestrian. And no note of the plate number was made by police on the scene.
The first place to start is the precinct of jurisdiction. Pick up the Police Accident Report (the PAR). A PAR is sequentially numbered so its number should fall into place around the date of accident. The PAR should contain def. vehicle, driver and witness information. This PAR contained none of those and the matter was simply designated a “Hit and Run”.
Our investigators felt there had to be more to the story than a simple leaving the scene. This is a residential area of Manhattan, with all of those people moving about their daily lives, someone had to have seen something.
We decided to make a flyer of the victim’s case (the victim and attorney’s permission of course). We Photoshopped the victim’s photo into a flyer we distributed liberally throughout the neighborhood. Literally, within 18 hours, we had a video of the victim being struck by a bus and email giving us the Jeep’s plate number. The victim’s attorneys are now processing the claim with this information.
I guess it all comes down to something I have said to each BNI investigator, regardless of experience – know the rules but always trust your gut instinct. It will lead you to where you need to go. The function of a good investigator is to find the facts that will help with victim, even if the odds are stacked against recovering this information.
BNI Investigators: Street Smart: Web Savvy.