November 2018
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After sponsoring an exhibit earlier this month at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association's annual conference, this week in Indianapolis Trace Investigations team members will pursue their own continuing education at the annual investigator's seminar hosted by the Indiana Public Defender Council. Due to overwhelming demand, this year's training will be offered by the National Association for Public Defense. In addition to attending training tracks we will be networking with criminal defense practitioners from around the country.

"Without the true facts, there can be no justice."

Motto of the National Association of Legal Investigators

We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide you this valuable information. We take special care to ensure the information we provide you in "Tracings" is the latest and most current information available.  In this edition, we address the importance of canvassing neighborhoods during an accident investigation. 
The goal of this e-newsletter is to provide you with critical information that will help you prevail in your business affairs wherever fact finding is an essential component. We will share what we have learned in our 30+ years as professional investigators and intelligence analysts.

We want to write about topics that will assist you in succeeding in your business endeavors. Please e-mail us your topics of interest to
We encourage you to share our e-newsletter with others in your sphere of influence.  
The Trace Team

CASE STUDY: A Critical Canvas, a Troubled Teenager
A few years ago, Trace Investigations received a call from a personal injury attorney whose client, a high school senior, was seriously injured in a vehicular collision a week earlier. The wreck had occurred in a thinly populated area of the county and no witnesses were listed on the accident report submitted by the Sheriff's department. The young woman, let's call her Amanda, was returning home during the twilight of a Wednesday evening in her small compact car when a large SUV turned a corner and ran into her head-on, spinning her vehicle into the ditch. The SUV driver, who was uninjured, came to a stop and phoned 9-1-1. The front end of his truck was heavily damaged, but the heavy front bumper rail had prevented any damage to the front axle. Amanda's vehicle was totaled. She was barely conscious when the ambulance arrived, her left leg was broken and she had chest and neck injuries.

The SUV driver, let's call him Lester, told the investigating officer at the scene that it was Amanda who was across the center line going into the curve. Amanda said the SUV driver had turned the corner fast, and it was he who was across the center line on the two-lane paved road when their vehicles hit. A wooded area on the north side of the road had prevented either driver from seeing the other vehicle approach. Lester said he hadn't seen any headlights approaching and Amanda told us that it wasn't that dark yet and she hadn't turned on her headlights either. It was strictly a "he said, she said" situation. Unless we could find a witness among the two houses on the other side of the road and near the curve, or otherwise impeach Lester's version of the accident, Amanda's ability to recover damages would be limited to her insurance.

The deputy who investigated the accident told us that a lady who lived in the house closest to the curve had heard the accident and, when she looked out, she saw Amanda's car in the ditch and Lester standing outside his SUV on his cell phone. She said the only other person in the house was her teenage son who was upstairs in his room. He told his mother he hadn't seen the wreck. We were contacted a few days after the wreck, and, after talking to the attorney and reading the accident report, we headed to the accident site, arriving on the same day of the week and the same time of the day. After examining the blind curve, we knocked on the door of the lady who had heard the accident. Let's call her Mrs. Grady.

Mrs. Grady confirmed  what she had told the deputy. We asked if we could speak to her son, let's call him Davey, who was in the living room with his mother. She said yes, but cautioned that he had been upset once he learned that his classmate Amanda was the one injured in the accident. Mrs. Grady repeated that Davey hadn't seen the accident . We thought he might have.

Amanda had told us that a classmate of hers lived in the house near the curve and when she drove by every Wednesday evening after her band rehearsal at school, she usually saw Davey looking out his bedroom window as she drove by. She said his window was often open and she could see him clearly sitting at his desk. But she couldn't recall if she had seen him there the night of her accident. She told us
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