Expertly Speaking

Timothy Reilly Expert Witness

DJS Welcomes Timothy P. Reilly, P.E.


Tim earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2007. He has over 10 years of design experience in the fields of traffic, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), traffic control, work zone safety, roadway improvements, municipal improvements, recreational facilities, grading and drainage, commercial and residential land development, and ADA compliance. Tim is a consultant in the field of collision reconstruction, applying the laws of physics to investigate, analyze and reconstruct vehicular collisions, including those involving pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, passenger vehicles, and commercial vehicles. Tim also provides expertise in the field of premise liability with his experience in ADA compliance. Tim specializes in traffic control, work zone safety, commercial shopping center traffic circulation, and code/ordinance compliance.

Tim is a licensed Professional Engineer and has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a licensed Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) remote pilot. He is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE).

To learn more about Tim and to download a copy of his CV, click here.

Tim can be contacted via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

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An Example of Off-Tracking


James R. Schmidt, Jr., BSME, Sr. Collision Reconstruction Engineer

A tractor-trailer making a turn undergoes noticeable off-tracking. Specifically, the trailer tires track well to the inside of the path followed by the tractor tires. In this real-world example, a tractor-trailer was making a tight right-turn at a busy intersection. The turn was close to, but a bit less than, 90 degrees. The turn was captured on a dash cam, from which a series of still images have been saved.

First, the tractor-trailer (at the right side of the photo) approaches the intersection:
Off-Tracking

Then, the tractor swings wide:
Off-Tracking

…and makes its turn:
Off-Tracking

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lowboy trailer gooseneck

Trailer Separation Mayhem


John R. Yannaccone, P.E., Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Case Synopsis: A heavy duty equipment hauler was delivering a large piece of equipment to an industrial plant. After the equipment was off-loaded, the driver wanted to reconfigure the low-boy gooseneck trailer by removing a section of the trailer so it was shorter for the trip back to his employer. The middle section of the trailer needed to be unbolted and removed to allow the front and rear section of the trailer to be re-connected for the return trip. The driver asked if the industrial plant had anyone to assist him in shortening the trailer, to which they offered one of the plant’s truck mechanics to assist him.

The trailer manufacturer had specific instructions regarding the sequence of steps to safely separate the mid section of the trailer, using cribbing and the hydraulics of the gooseneck to manipulate the trailer. The truck driver was directing the plant mechanic as they worked together to remove the bolts holding the center section of the trailer. During the process, the driver instructed the mechanic to tap/drive out a shim between two sections of the trailer. When the shim came free, a portion of the trailer dropped down and landed on the foot of the mechanic, trapping it under the trailer. Other workers at the plant used a forklift to lift the trailer section off the mechanic’s foot. He suffered severe crush injuries to his foot, which resulted in permanent disability.

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Food Safety and Contamination Expert

Death by Meatloaf


Ewen Todd, Ph.D., Food Safety and Contamination Expert

A lawsuit sought more than $250,000 in the premature deaths of an elderly couple who ate meatloaf from a West Virginia establishment of a national restaurant chain. The restaurant was accused of selling unsafe, unwholesome and unfit food products for consumption, leading to tainted meatloaf, which caused food poisoning.

Wife, V.S. (V) and husband, H.S. (H) both dined on a take-out meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli, and rolls from the restaurant in October, 2012. Nine hours later, V and H became “violently ill,” and were transported by ambulance to an emergency room where staff documented that the elderly couple “suffered from food poisoning from consuming the tainted meal.” The couple was moved to a rehabilitation facility where V died two months later, and H, a few months after his wife. The lawsuit claimed that the food poisoning weakened their overall health and ultimately caused their deaths. Up until he ate the tainted meal, H was still working and operating his business, and V had served in the West Virginia Legislature until earlier in the year, retiring due to preexisting medical conditions. The claim was that the meal caused the rapid deterioration of their health conditions, and their consequential deaths.

Expert analysis revealed that the couple suffered from a foodborne disease of an undetermined origin after eating the meatloaf dinner. This is based on the facts that this was the only common meal they had on that day, that hospital records had a diagnosis of food poisoning, and there were opportunities at the restaurant known to have created conditions for the meat loaf to be contaminated, which could lead to foodborne disease.

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Infotainment Expert Witness

Infotainment and Telematics


Robert Kinder, Jr., MS, Mechanical Engineer

In-car entertainment, or infotainment, used to be synonymous with the original AM car radio, as infotainment is known for delivering entertainment and information to vehicle occupants. Owing to today’s advancements in technology, infotainment has evolved. Utilizing modern hardware and software, infotainment systems assist vehicle operators by making data more available, such as a backup camera adding a view angle or an in-car navigation providing directions. The first infotainment systems were not much more than a pathway to play music through the vehicle’s speakers; however, they have now grown to be versatile, offering hands-free calling and even reading text messages aloud. A key identifier for current infotainment systems includes an audio interface constructed of a touchscreen for the use of radio and music, , climate control, navigation, and as a connected phone interface. There is a substantial variety of infotainment systems on the market. Each manufacturer has their own unique system, along with different versions over the years, showcasing different features and distinct elements.

Infotainment systems can store data relevant to vehicle collisions that help engineers analyze the events leading up to a crash. An infotainment system stores GPS data not only associated with the route of the vehicle, but with events such as doors opening/closing, light activations, and more. Infotainment data is often timestamped and defined with geolocation data.
While different types of data are available to be retrieved from infotainment systems, there are some obstacles. For example, with the right forensic tools, text messages can be extracted from an infotainment system, but sometimes they only include text messages that were received, not sent. The main driver for what data is available is the vehicle make. Ford’s infotainment systems differ from Toyota’s, Chevrolet’s, etc. Each system is similar, but each may store different data.

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vehicle-qr-codes

QR Codes in Automobiles


Leslie Lovre-King, Technical Assistant to R. Scott King, BSME, Principal Automotive / Mechanical Engineer

QR Codes: You’ve probably seen them; you may have used them. Part Rorschach inkblot, part brain teaser maze, these square, black and white bar codes contain links to virtually any reference source imaginable. From manufacturing to marketing, online content to personnel records, these codes can be used by anyone with a smartphone: including vehicle crash first responders.

Most people likely have never – in a serious way – considered sawing a car in half, prying off its doors, or rolling a vehicle off its roof. If they have, then they likely haven’t considered the potential consequences of doing so. However, first responders have, and for good reason. Undeployed airbags, high voltage electric vehicles, fuel systems and many other systems pose potential significant dangers during rescue operations. Cutting, prying, or touching the wrong part or area at the wrong time can result in injury to both themselves, as well as vehicle occupants. Mitigating these risks requires knowledge, training and very likely, good fortune. However, beginning in 2013, Mercedes Benz began placing QR codes at various locations on its vehicles that, with a simple scan of a smartphone, provide links to a virtual roadmap of the vehicle and the systems within it that provide the most significant risk. By scanning these so-called “Rescue Sheets” before occupant extrication, first responders can safely navigate the vehicle and avoid those dangerous systems and area. Mercedes Benz places the QR codes on the inside of the fuel inlet door, an area it says is more likely to survive a crash.

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