A Bad Day for Sandy Dayton
Part 3: The Facts of the Case
Officer Matthews was back at the station, and was preparing to file his
report on the accident at the corner of S. College and Delaware Ave. He
read through the various statements of the drivers, and witnesses to the
This is part of the statement made by Sandy Dayton, the owner of the
I was heading to class in my car, when the light at the intersection turned
yellow. I saw students starting to cross and so I hit my brakes, coming
to a stop. I heard more screeching of brakes, then a van crashed into
the back of my car, throwing my car into the intersection. I was traveling
at the speed limit, but the driver of the van must have been speeding.
I think my car must be totaled! Did you get the van driver's insurance
This is part of the report submitted by the police accident reconstructionist
who examined the vehicles at the scene:
At the scene of the accident, it was apparent that the front of the van
had been damaged. The car was badly damaged in the rear. There were skid
marks, showing that both vehicles had braked. The speedometer of the van
was stuck at 15 mph, leading me to believe that the van was traveling
at least 15 mph when it crash into the other vehicle.
This is part of the statement made by the driver of the van, Jerry
I had just delivered some boxes at the Ag school and was on my way to
deliver the last of my load at Clayton Hall, coming up South College.
This college kid in an old beat-up Ford was in front of me - when all
of a sudden, she slams on her brakes. So did I, but I still slammed into
her. The light had just turned yellow, we both had time to go through
the light. This is her fault!
This is a copy of part of Officer Matthew's report on the accident
at S. College and Delaware Avenue:
At 11:35am, Newark Officer Davidson and I received a call on our car radio,
directing us to an accident on the corner of S. College and Delaware Avenue.
The accident was reported by an unknown witness via a 911 call. We arrived
at 11:40am. There was a large group of people around. The driver of the
car was sent to the emergency room after complaining of neck and chest
pain. The accident appeared to have resulted from a van colliding into
the rear of a stopped car at the intersection. The impact moved the car
into the intersection. We set up flares and directed traffic around the
wreckage site, and called for a police accident investigation team to
be sent over.
We interviewed some witnesses, including several students. Several told
us that it seemed both cars were speeding and almost ran over some students
who started to cross the road as the light turned yellow. Others felt
that the car and truck were traveling at normal speeds for the area. We
took a full statements from three witnesses. We also took a detailed statement
from the driver of the van, who appeared to be unhurt. At 12:30pm, I left
Officer Davidson and the Accident Investigators at the scene, and went
to the emergency room to interview Ms. Dayton.
- From the various accounts of the police officers, the two drivers
and witnesses, what do we know that is fact in this case?
- What information do we need to know in order to determine whether
a car can safely (legally) go through an intersection when the light
turns yellow as opposed to stopping?
- What additional information do you need to obtain from the accident
report in order to know if Sandy and/or Jerry were speeding?