The Side-by-Side Case Study

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Video Transcript

Brian Weaver:

This particular individual who we'll call Tony. Tony, and Matt, and another gentleman who we'll call Mike. So these three boys had gone up to go deer hunting. At some point in the evening, Tony and Matt decided that they were going to go check the deer feeders. Now, the story from this point on actually comes from Michael's perspective. What had happened is Michael was awoken out of a deep sleep from a loud noise that he heard, and he came out of the cabin and out in front of them, he sees the side-by-side on its side and Tony was walking back towards the cabin. Michael had asked what had happened, and Tony's only words were that Matt had died. Tony indicated that Matt was driving the side-by-side, it had rolled and he had died.

The ultimate question was who was driving? On this particular matter, we were given quite a bit of information because the police, when they arrived onto the scene of this incident, had already suspected wrongdoing and immediately called in their forensic team. So we had just a wealth of information collected from the police officers, including photographs, inspections of the side-by-side taken a few days after or the next day, three dimensional scans. We had drone footage. It was more information than what we usually get.

The thing that bothered me immediately was, well, the photographs and the information from the inspection that we have from the police, show all of the evidence, scrape marks, dirt and debris and embedded aggregate into the plastic of the side-by-side was all on the passenger side of the vehicle. One of the more haunting pieces of evidence was the blood splatter on the vehicle itself. There was blood around most of the circumference of both tires on the passenger side of the vehicle, demonstrating that this vehicle had been put onto its tires and then moved and essentially driven through the pool of blood that had developed as a result of Matt's traumatic brain injury.

From the evidence that we saw on the side-by-side, he picked the side-by-side up with a front-end loader tractor and we know that from evidence that's on the roof. There's a scrape mark, and it was a perfect linear line across the top of the roof. So we had actually had to construct or reconstruct the accident, camera match, and place everything at the scene based upon the scan and the drone footage, trying to model the vehicle dynamics itself to understand how the occupants would move. And more importantly, trying to figure out whether or not you could match the tire marks that we had there in the driveway, this gravel driveway, and get the vehicle to roll onto the driver's side to land in the position that it was.

There were actually two sets of tire marks. The story that was provided was that they had checked on the feeders and now they were just joy riding. They were driving around the cabin and when they came into the driveway, they were doing donuts. We had tried to match the vehicle dynamics through both of those sets to try to duplicate the rest position that was documented, and we were unable to do that because obviously that's not what happened. It had been moved, it had been manipulated, and so the tire marks were not related to its position that we had documented.

Tony was driving and rolled onto the passenger side, and the injuries sustained to Matt were caused as a result of that. The evidence was just so overwhelmingly compelling that there's no other possible conclusion.