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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Using an EDR

It was in an article in todays Detroit Free Press that I saw this piece in which information recordered by an EDR was was used as evidence in an investigation. In December of 2005, a detroit teen was crossing the street on her way to catch the bus to go to school. The offending driver was excessively speeding and illegally passing a schoolbus. The man driving the offending truck, Richard Farrell, hit 58 before hitting Tiara Fisher and killing her. The one thing he did not hit was the brakes.

Speeder killed teen, cop says
Suspect hit 58, didn't brake, jury hears
September 13, 2006



Tiara Fisher, 15, a Southfield High freshman, was struck and killed by a pickup as she crossed the street to a school bus.

In the five seconds before he plowed into Tiara Fisher with his 2003 Silverado pickup, Richard Farrell was speeding, going from 55 to 58 m.p.h., before hitting the 126-pound girl and dragging her 138 feet, according to testimony from an accident reconstruction expert Tuesday.

The impact lifted the 15-year-old Southfield High freshman out of her shoes. She died at the scene while on her way to the school bus Dec. 7.

The speed limit was 35 m.p.h.

On the third day of Farrell's manslaughter trial in Oakland County Circuit Court, Michigan State Police Sgt. Timothy Brown told jurors he extracted information from the Silverado's data recording box, located next to the steering column.

The box provided data from the moments before the crash, including speed and acceleration. "There were absolutely no brakes applied," Brown said.

Brown also inspected damage to the Chevrolet pickup's front end. "I looked at the vehicle and said, 'Whoa, this isn't your typical 30- to 35-m.p.h. crash,' " he said. Prosecutors contend Farrell, 54, of Southfield was attempting to pass the school bus on Evergreen in Southfield. The bus was pulling to the curb and flashing amber warning lights, and prosecutors said Farrell darted into the center turn lane and struck Fisher, who was trying to cross to the bus stop.

Farrell's attorney, Sharon Clark Woodside, questioned why Fisher had not gone to a nearby crosswalk to get to her bus stop, rather than cutting across the street. Police said they believe she was standing in the center turn lane when Farrell passed the school bus and a stopped car and hit her.

"Did you know it is actually a violation to be walking down the center turn lane?" Woodside asked the officer in charge of the case, Joseph Taylor of Southfield. He said he was unaware of that ordinance.

How stupid do you have to be to be going that fast on a residential street? People like Lee Estes, who has written quite a few letters to Car Talk, need to pay attention to stories like this. Also, a big yellow school bus with flashing lights would seem to pretty hard to miss. Richard Farrell needs to have his eyes checked. He should have learned from his history of license suspensions, reckless driving, and speeding citations. However, in this case, like so many others, he just did not learn his lesson. Now he has learned it the hard way.

You will see a previous article on the case here.


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