- Associated Press - Sunday, February 5, 2017

MIDLDE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - About 80 students at a southern New Jersey high school recently got a glimpse of how police officers investigate serious and fatal crashes.

Members of the police department’s crash team set up a mock accident scene in the Middle Township High School parking lot and explained the steps they take when responding to a crash.

No cars were damaged, but one of the officers used his car to create skid marks similar to those at a crash scene.

All the students who participated in the three separate demonstrations Friday are taking either physics or forensics, and are learning how to use equations the officers use to investigate an accident, physics teacher Kristina Ortman told The Press of Atlantic City (https://bit.ly/2l4QEWU).

The presentation represents “a real-life application of the science they’re learning in the classroom,” police Detective Dan Martin said.



“We look for skid marks, gouges in the roadway” and other markings of damage where the accident occurred, Patrolman Steven Novsak told the students. “Ultimately, we’re trying to determine who’s at fault.”

After a brief presentation by Novsak at the township’s Performing Arts Center, the students were taken outside to the mock scene, where officers stressed the importance of the length of the skid marks and explained how they use lasers to recreate a crash on a computer screen.

The crash team, which responds to only about 12 of the most serious accidents per year, is composed of eight officers from the township Police Department who are trained to analyze evidence related to a motor vehicle accident.

Following the demonstration, the officers issued a stark warning to the students, many of whom said they already had driver’s licenses.

“We prefer not to even have this unit,” Martin said to the students. “The last thing we want to do is respond to an accident with anybody here.”

Members of the crash team also warned against texting while driving.

“We just want you guys to be careful,” said Gino Castellano, who serves as the district’s school resource officer. “It doesn’t take much.”

“Every fatal crash I’ve been to could have been avoided,” Novsak added.

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Information from: The Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

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