Autopsy determines Kevin McCoy hit from behind, died on impact
Kevin McCoy’s body may have remained on the brush guard and hood of Rory Kuenzi’s Chevy S-10 for more than 100 feet, according to testimony from State Trooper Mark Andraschko.
Andraschko testified Wednesday in Kuenzi’s homicide trial as the prosecution laid out the forensic evidence. He created a reconstruction of the crash that killed McCoy on Oct. 23, 2004.
“One explanation for the lack of road rash and grass stains (on McCoy’s body) is the body traveled with the vehicle for an extended distance,” Andraschko said. “It only fell off as the pickup came to a stop.”
Andraschko calculated that McCoy was hit near the location where his shoes were found on Butts Road. He said pedestrians who are hit by vehicles are often pulled from their shoes as their bodies are suddenly accelerated to the speed of the vehicle.
The distance between the body and the shoe was 136 feet.
Andraschko presented his crash-reconstruction report to the jury as a PowerPoint. He provided detailed computer renderings of where McCoy’s body was in relation to Kuenzi’s truck.
“I can match up the injuries to the body of Mr. McCoy to the damage to the pickup truck,” Andraschko said.
Andraschko showed how a damaged vertical support on Kuenzi’s truck lined up with a straight line of bruising on McCoy’s left leg. His scale model drawings also depicted how McCoy’s body was bent back over the hood on impact and as it was carried by momentum until the truck stopped.
“You can see the body fits almost perfectly with the damage on the hood,” Andraschko said, regarding one of his illustrations.
Andraschko also said evidence at the crash scene led him to ascertain that the body had been moved from the road and placed into the shallow ditch.
He noted that the damage to the truck and the injuries to McCoy showed few signed of angular motion. McCoy’s shoes and socks and the debris at the scene were also in a straight line.
Andraschko observed that a “stop ahead” sign was between the likely point of impact and where McCoy’s body was found.
“If the body is going to end up at that point it would have to go around or over the sign,” Andraschko said, noting that there was no damage to the sign.
He said the grass around McCoy’s body had not been matted.
“I cannot see any path of a body tumbling though that grass,” Andraschko said.
Dr. Robert Huntington, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy, also testified to the unusual straight line of bruising on McCoy’s left leg. He pointed to the lack of a road rash.
Huntington said McCoy’s neck had been broken and that “he died with extreme rapidity.”
“It is reasonably certain, scientifically and otherwise, this guy got clobbered by a vehicle,” Huntington said, adding that McCoy was hit from behind.
The prosecution also brought in an optics specialist to explain how visible McCoy would have been as he walked alongside Butts Road.
James Sobeck is an engineer and accident reconstructionist who specializes in lighting and visibility conditions.
Sobeck reviewed weather reports, visited the crash scene and conducted tests at night to measure the visibility along Butts Road. He mounted the headlights and foglights from Kuenzi’s truck on another truck and dampened the road to recreate the misty conditions of that night. He dressed a mannequin in McCoy’s clothes, then measured the level of illumination.
Sobeck said there were also two high-pressure sodium arc lights at the campground entrances near the crash site. He said that while McCoy was wearing dark clothes, his pants had drawstrings that brought them up to his knees so that his white legs and white socks were exposed. His jacket had a yellow stripe on the back.
Using Androschko’s calculations, Sobeck based his time of visibility findings on a speed at 44 mph, using low beams.
He said McCoy would have been visible from 900 feet away, which would have taken 13 seconds for the vehicle to cover, noticeable at 700 feet (10 seconds) and conspicuous by 500 feet (7.5 seconds).
The jury also watched Kenneth Olson, a forensic scientist at the State Crime Lab in Madison, fit together pieces of debris from the crash scene with broken pieces from Kuenzi’s truck.
“If I can get a piece from the scene that fits with a piece from the vehicle, I can say that the pieces at the scene come from the vehicle,” Olson said. “It’s like putting together a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.”
Carly Lieder, a forensic scientist who specializes in DNA analysis, also testified Wednesday. She said that there was a 1 in 101 possibility that Kuenzi’s DNA would be included in the mixture of DNA that was found on McCoy’s pants.