Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit investigates several fatal crashes and a shooting scene in a 36 hour period
March 7, 2013
The expert services of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit (TRU) are always in high demand statewide to assist in investigations of serious traffic crashes and complex crime scenes.
The 12 State Patrol officers in the TRU have extensive knowledge and experience in numerous disciplines including vehicle speed analysis, motion dynamics of vehicle occupants, forensic mapping and crash data retrieval. Their investigative findings are used by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to determine the causes of serious injury and fatal traffic crashes. Their forensic mapping and evidence gathering at crime scenes assist in determining guilt or innocence in legal proceedings. TRU officers often provide expert testimony at trials.
During the weekend of March 2 and 3, the TRU responded to assist with investigations at four separate fatal crash and shooting scenes. Tragically, the number of responses was not unusual for a weekend. Within a 36-hour period, the following investigations were initiated:
- The TRU assisted the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice on Saturday with the investigation into the shooting death of a 27-year-old female in Adams. A 28-year-old male subject advised law enforcement that in the middle of the night his girlfriend startled him, and he shot her with a shotgun he kept near the bed. TRU members mapped the interior and exterior of the two-story residence where the shooting took place.
- The Manitowoc Police Department requested TRU assistance early Sunday morning to reconstruct a fatal crash in Manitowoc. Dylan Karnitz, 21, was driving a Cadillac when he failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a Chevrolet driven by 23-year-old Christopher Mark, who was killed in the crash along with his 24-year-old passenger, Zachary Gates. Another passenger in Mark’s vehicle, 21-year-old John Prowls, suffered serious injuries. Additionally, three passengers in Karnitz’s vehicle suffered injuries. Karnitz was arrested and has been charged with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, one count of causing great bodily harm, and three counts of causing injury.
- The TRU assisted the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday afternoon with the investigation of a fatal crash on WIS 16. A 30-year-old female driver of a KIA was traveling eastbound when her vehicle crossed the centerline on a fairly straight stretch of the highway. The KIA struck the guardrail on the opposite side of the roadway before it was redirected into the eastbound lane where it collided head-on with a Chevrolet whose driver attempted to veer left to avoid the crash. The 33-year-old male driver of the Chevrolet and a 3-year-old passenger in the vehicle were seriously injured. Deputies at the scene found what is believed to be drugs and drug paraphernalia in the Kia. Blood samples were obtained from the driver of the KIA, and toxicology results are pending.
- The Janesville Police Department requested TRU assistance on Sunday afternoon with the reconstruction of a fatal crash. The 55-year-old male driver of a Chevy pick-up traveling northbound on Afton Road crossed the centerline and collided with a southbound Saturn. The driver of the Saturn was pronounced dead at the scene, and a 20-year-old female passenger suffered serious injuries. The pick-up driver also suffered serious injuries. Officers found evidence that the pick-up driver was impaired by alcohol before the crash. Blood samples were obtained and toxicology results are pending. The pick-up driver likely faces charges that include homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and causing great bodily harm.
"Nearly every day, and sometimes several times a day, TRU troopers investigate crashes that kill or seriously injure innocent victims because a driver made the illegal, irresponsible and immoral decision to get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or drugs," says State Patrol Lieutenant Tim Huibregtse, who supervises the TRU. "Impaired driving is a deadly problem throughout the state and among all walks of life. TRU troopers are dedicated professional investigators, but they sincerely wish that there were fewer crashes to reconstruct."
For more information, c
State Patrol Lieutenant Tim Huibregtse, Wisconsin DOT
(414) 227-2153, firstname.lastname@example.org