Istvan Takacs was 76 years old when he was struck by a Silverado while riding his bicycle on September 29, 2010 on Rockside Road in the little village of Valley View, Ohio. There was very little written in the media about the crash – as I write this I cannot find a single article today.
So what happened? Well, according to what could take the gold medal as the WORST POLICE REPORT EVER FILED IN A DEATH CASE, the crash happened around 4:00 pm on a clear Wednesday afternoon. Little else is known. A man was KILLED and the Valley View Police Department issued a three-page “crash report” which contains NO witness statements, NO photographs, NO measurements, NO toxicology reports and NO real “evidence” about what happened.
Worst Report Ever? You be the Judge!
You can find the whole, complete page-by-page crash report here –> 2010 09 29 Valley View Police Report
So what happened here? According to the report, the cyclist was in the curb lane and moved left into the lane in which Ralph Cross was driving a 2003 Chevy Silverado. The report concludes that the cyclist hit the right quarter panel of the truck despite Mr. Cross’s driving left of center, into on-coming traffic. The speed of the car is noted at “30” which, of course, equals the speed limit. That’s an interesting batch of conclusions – maybe even true – who knows … Where did these conclusions come from? How did those words end up on that page?
We don’t know. I don’t have a clue.
If Mr. Cross was interviewed, that interview was not made part of the record. If he gave a statement, wrote one out, that was not included. When I called and asked if ANY photographs were taken in this crash which led to the death of a 76 year old Hungarian man I was told that no photos were taken. But… at least there was a sketch…er…
Oh yea… the sketch…
wow… it’s hard to believe they took the time to put it on a separate page… thank goodness they told us it was “NOT TO SCALE,” eh?
Nice job on the roads, eh? Can you see the “sketch” of the crash down there in the lower left corner? Let me help you…
Apparently “Ptl. M. Arnold, Badge No. 7322” enlisted his six year old son to draw this sketch for him/her… but I digress…
What do these measurements mean? Is this where the bike ended up? Were there any witnesses? Was Mr. Cross questioned? Was he tested for alcohol or drugs? Was the bike moved following the crash?
In a case where a person is KILLED in a crash the people of the State of Ohio, and Valley View, Ohio deserve better – they deserve to know what happened. The family and friends of Mr. Takacs deserve a thorough, detailed investigation into his death.
What I wanted to do was look at each fatal bicycle crash and try to figure out what happened and why. What lessons are there for future riders, motorists, police officers?
What happened here? Who knows…there are too many unanswered questions…
Was the cyclist simply careless and rode into the car’s path? Was the motorist driving too fast? Was the motorist paying attention? Did the cyclist fail to see the huge Silverado? Where was Mr, Takacs going? What was Mr. Takacs wearing? Suit and tie? Roadie kit? Where is the written, signed statement of the motorist? Were there passengers in the Silverado? Did Mr. Cross have a cell phone? Where is THAT data? Were there other witnesses who saw what happened? Where are THEIR statements?
Where are the photos of the Silverado? What was damaged? Was the mirror knocked off? Those big mirrors are known to whack cyclists… Where are the photos of the bike. What was damaged? Can the bike damage be lined up with the damage to the Silverado?
What about scene photos and measurements? Were there ANY skid marks, gouge marks, debris from the crash. Where is that mapped out? The “debris field” can be very important in trying to figure out where folks came from and where they were going. Usually, accident investigators will carefully mark each bit of evidence, and then measure it and mark the measurements on a special page using reference points that allow anyone who reviews the report to go back to the scene and recreate the investigation. As you can see, no such details are present in the 3-page report.
If you look up Mr. Takacs address and map it out from the collision scene, it looks like this:
Was Mr. Takacs was heading towards Sweet Valley and looking to make a left turn on Sweet Valley? Heading out Rockside? Rockside Road is generally NOT a place for the meek and mild – but many active, regular cyclists are not the meek and mild variety…
The sad thing is all we are left with from the Valley View Police Department is three stinking pages of NOTHING… this has all the earmarks of, at best, an example of extremely careless, negligent poor police work and, at worst, a “wink and a nod” between cop and motorist … I hate to think that way, but serious cases deserve hard serious police work …and this report leaves WAY too much open for debate…
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