The Traffic Accident Reconstruction Origin -Approach Angles Solution-

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This solution is submitted by John Luerding.

I've examined the accident "A Rainy Day Collision." and feel I've got a pretty sound theory as to the cause of the accident and to the eventual death of Mr. Barbera.

Let's Look at Mr. Barbera, a 73 year old male. Human factor #1. The older you get the slower your reactions become. I do not believe that Mr. Barbera ran the stop sign at a fast or slow rate of speed. Reason, at a high rate, he wouldn't have been able to negotiate the left turn in time. Slow rate of speed (California stop) he would have seen the truck just prior to entering the intersection or as he started to cross the main Rd. This would have lead to a frontal blow to Mr. Barbera's vehicle instead of a B pillar contact blow.

Due to the heavy brush, Mr. Barbera could not see clearly to his left if any traffic was coming his way on Through St. (My Theory is that he stopped, felt as if no one was coming his way, and started off).

The second driver Mr. Duffy. A young kid with four other teenagers. Human factor #2. Teenagers like to act crazy when they mix with their own age. He was probably speeding and not paying attention. Mr. Duffy also could not see the stop sign on Dead End Rd. due to the brush, so he was unable to see Mr. Barbera's approach to the intersection.

At the time of the collision, both drivers had no reaction time. This is evident by the location of the damage done to Mr. Barbera's vehicle (just behind the drivers seat where the B pillar is positioned). Had Mr. Duffy reacted by turning left he would have possibly struck Mr. Barbera's vehicle near the left front tire or directly into the drivers door. Had a right turn been initiated, His vehicle more than likely would have been sliding side ways there by producing damage along the left rear area of Mr. Duffy's vehicle. Mr. Duffy's vehicle struck Mr. Barbera's vehicle head on. This is evident by the angle of damage done to Mr. Duffy's truck. If he had turned left, The entire front end would have been damaged, not just the left side.

Both vehicles spun around. Mr. Duffy's vehicle spun counter clockwise due to the sudden force of energy that was focused on the left front side of his vehicle.

Mr. Barbera's vehicle also spun counter clock wise due to the location of the contact in relation to his vehicle.

At the time of the first impact with Mr. Barbera's vehicle, the collision was not a strong enough impact to cause the air bag to deploy. The impact to his vehicle was behind his seat where the B pillar is located. His seat belt worked then. That's what saved him. When Mr. Barbera accelerated his vehicle forward, he struck the tree with enough force to set the air bag off there by causing it to strike Mr. Barbera as he was moving forward due to centrifugal force. His seat belt failed because the B pillar was lodged against the seat belt preventing it from tensioning.

Air bags deploy at a rate of up to 200 mph in 2/10ths of a second. This factor culminated with the weight of an individual times his speed equals the pounds in force being struck against a bag inflating with a maddening speed. Air bags in recent studies have been known to save lives this is true, but those who have been saved have suffered some chest trauma, or broken noses and other sorts of injuries.

Mr. Barbera was 73 years old and his bones weren't as strong as they use to be. The Air bag deploying in his vehicle at the second impact was what killed him. This theory of the cause of death coincides with the medical examiners ruling as to the cause of death. Trauma to the chest caused by a blunt blow.

This is my solution and summation as to the cause of the accident and the death of Mr. Barbera.

John Luerding is 28-years old. He is married with two young children. He has been in the U.S. Army for the past nine years as a Military Police Officer and holds the rank of sergeant He has investigated accidents for 6-years. Mr Leurding received his certification as an accident investigator from the Lackland Air Force base in Texas in 1989. This training is recognized by the Northwestern Traffic Institute. He is currently stationed at Ft. Riley Kansas and can be reached at [email protected].