Traffic Counter Convicts Driver of Manslaughter
Data generated by MetroCount traffic counters is so precise and detailed it has been used in multiple court cases to convict drivers of manslaughter.
In the recently documented case of a hit-and-run incident that left a cyclist dead on the side of the road without a single witness, the RoadPod® VT counter provided the missing clues to hunt down and arrest the offender.
Watch the short video below that describes the incredible story of how two country police officers and an investigator pieced together the puzzle to convict Geoffrey Sleba, a local truck driver.
Straight road. Clear day. How was a cyclist killed?
Much-loved cyclist, Dr. Martin Pearson, was experienced, always used protective/reflective equipment and was riding along a straight, clear stretch of road when he was hit and killed on ANZAC Day 2014.
The road he was riding on was remote and had very little traffic. As such, no one witnessed the crash.
“I just had a feeling that whoever did it would have been thinking ‘those country coppers aren’t going to solve this.
They’re not going to know where to look. I’ll get away with it.'” – Sergeant Matt Shaw, Queensland Police.
Undeterred by the improbability of finding the culprit, officers were able to extract the exact time of impact from Martin Pearson’s cycling GPS and match this with individual vehicle information from the traffic counter almost 8kms back down the road.
“Being in the job for 30 years, I never knew what traffic counters actually recorded. Lo and behold we actually found out they give us a lot of information!
The times on them are so accurate. They give speeds of vehicles, number of axles in that vehicle and how far they are apart.” – Sergeant Tim Hoffman, Queensland Police
Finding the exact vehicle that collided with Martin Pearson
Sergeants Shaw and Hoffman already knew they were looking for a four-wheel-drive vehicle or a truck due to a large spotlight found at the crime scene. Straight away it was clear from the data that only one large vehicle had been travelling along the road at the time Martin Pearson was hit – an Argosy Freightliner truck with a rare axle combination.
From there it was easy to confirm ownership of the truck from registration records and establish who was driving the vehicle from farmers who had loaded the truck with grain that day.
After searching Sleba’s shed, a single Lightforce spotlight matching the one at the crime scene was found. From surveillance footage, it was obvious that the spotlight had been removed from the truck at the latest two days after the collision and replaced with new spotlights later on.
Traffic Data Convicts Driver of Manslaughter
The police finally had sufficient evidence to charge Geoffrey Sleba. MetroCount traffic data was put forward along with other evidence at his court hearing. This resulted in the jury finding Sleba guilty of dangerous driving causing death.
“It was just a relief. There was still a person that had died – it wasn’t going to bring Martin back. For me it just felt like the puzzle was finished and there may be some justice for Martin and his family.” – Sergeant Matt Shaw.
To watch the full Australian Story documentary click here. In The Only Witness Episode 2, the story becomes even more incredulous as we learn Geoffrey Sleba previously killed his wife almost 6 years to the day before he hit Martin Pearson.
Well done to the tenacious Police officers – Matt Shaw, Tim Hoffman and Ryan Harmer – who didn’t give up on an almost impossible investigation and served justice on behalf of an innocent cyclist and his family.