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Snow Groomer Vehicle–Related Fatality: An Illustrative Case Study of the Importance of Medicolegal Involvement

Straka, Lubomir MD, PhD*; Janik, Martin MD*; Novomesky, Frantisek MD, PhD*; Stuller, Frantisek MD, PhD*; Zubor, Pavol MD, PhD*; Hejna, Petr MD, PhD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: September 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 181–184
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3182886eba
Case Reports

Abstract: This article describes and discusses an unusual case of an accidental death of a 29-year-old female snowboarder. A snow-grooming vehicle had run over her body after she accidentally fell down during a training ride. According to the official statement, the victim was probably under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the snowboarder caused the accident because she did not respect the safety restrictions and collided with the snow vehicle. However, forensic pathologists offered different conclusions to the police to place the responsibility of the accident by observing the characteristics of the injuries and analyzing the autopsy results. Autopsy findings led to the suspicion that the injuries on her body were a consequence of running over of the vehicle without any modifications caused by hitting. A title and abstract review of recent articles worldwide over the past 2 decades indicates that there have been no case reports that have focused on snow groomer vehicle–related fatality with a description of the characteristics of the injuries. This case study particularly focuses on wound morphology caused by an uncommon mechanism that might help forensic practitioners.

From the *Institute of Forensic Medicine and Medicolegal Expertises, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, University Hospital, Martin, Slovak Republic; and †Institute of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and University Hospital, Hradec Králove, Czech Republic.

Manuscript received September 26, 2012; accepted January 17, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Lubomir Straka, MD, PhD, Institute of Forensic Medicine and Medicolegal Expertises, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, University Hospital, 036 59 Martin, Slovak Republic. E-mail: lubomir.straka@unm.sk.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.