A rather strange case has come out of Tennessee this month, as the police investigated a car accident and decided that the driver had fled the scene. They turned the minivan over to a tow truck driver, who towed it away and then attempted to shift the van into park at the lot. When he opened the door to change gears, he found a man's body inside.
The driver had apparently been killed in the accident, but the police had failed to see him under the airbag.
The man was 40 years old. Police who investigated said he'd driven through a stop sign and slammed into an embankment.
The tow truck driver said he got to the scene and the trooper who had responded told him the van was empty. He did note that it was very hard to see the man, who had slid out of the seat and was on the floor of the vehicle. With the airbag deployed, it covered his body.
However, that driver did see the man's feet. He then checked for a pulse, twice, and couldn't find one.
He said it "tripped [him] out" simply because he did not think there was anyone in the van. He noted that he'd been to fatal accidents before, but it was different when he knew what he was going to find. Not knowing made it shocking.
The police have said they're investigating the issue. However, a case like this raises a lot of questions. If the man had been found promptly and given medical care, could he had survived? Did the fact that the police left him in the car for so long, until the van reached the impound lot, make a difference? The investigation is ongoing, so the answers are unclear at this time.
Still, this case shows how family members who feel that police errors contributed in deadly accidents need to know if they have a right to compensation.
Source: Knox News, "THP investigating failure to discover body at South Knox crash scene," Hayes Hickman, Dec. 21, 2016