Tire Marks and Tire Tracks

Types of tire marks

Examples from case law

Types of tire marks

• There is a difference in the type of marking upon a highway that a flat tire will make and that which an inflated tire will make. The skid or burn of an inflated tire will show only the width of the tire and there will be visible tread, but a flat tire will not show tread and will show blotches where the flat tire is gathered under the wheel and it will jump and bump and spread out as much as a foot and a half in width.

Kempf v. Himsel, 98 N.E.2d 200, 207 (Ind. Ct. App. 1951), reh’g denied, trans. denied(en banc)

• Yaw marks are tire marks left on the driving surface caused by a vehicle moving in a sideways direction.

Rothberg v. Hershberger, 832 N.E.2d 593, 594 n. 1 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), trans. denied

Examples from case law

• In this case, the record demonstrates that [the victim] stood by [the defendant’s] SUV and argued with him. [The defendant] then entered his SUV, shut the door, backed up slightly, and accelerated at a frantic pace. [The defendant’s] rapid acceleration resulted in his vehicle striking [the victim] with the side view mirror and passenger door. The impact knocked [the victim] to the ground, where he remained until he was taken to the hospital. Moreover, while [the defendant] was driving away, he nearly struck a neighbor who was walking his dog and almost collided with other traffic. Because of the high rate of acceleration, [the defendant] left skid marks on [the victim’s] driveway and on the street in front of their home. In light of this evidence, it is apparent that [the defendant] drove without any regard to the potential harm that could result to [the victim].

Gleason v. State, 965 N.E.2d 702, 709 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012)(emphasis added)(quotation marks and citations omitted)

• Moreover, [the defendant’s] acceleration to the point of leaving tire marks on the driveway and the street amounts to a substantial deviation from the acceptable standard of driving a vehicle. As a result, the State proved that [the defendant] acted recklessly, and we decline to set the conviction [for criminal recklessness] aside.

Gleason v. State, 965 N.E.2d 702, 709 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012)

• Evidence that particular tire marks were present following an accident, but not before, is sufficient to establish a reasonable inference that the marks were made at the time of the accident.

Thornton v. Pender, 377 N.E.2d 613, 619 (Ind. 1978), reh’g denied

• [T]he evidence showed [the appellant] to have attempted some evasive action: his van made skid marks 62 feet long and was discovered almost completely off the pavement and onto the berm.

Brock v. Walton, 456 N.E.2d 1087, 1093 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983)

• The fact that there were no skid marks made by appellant’s car, when considered with the undisputed testimony as to the condition of the parked cars after the collision, is a circumstance from which the jury might reasonably have inferred that appellant did not apply his brakes.

Taylor v. Fitzpatrick, 132 N.E.2d 919, 923 (Ind. 1956)

• A photograph of a tire track found at the crime scene, a plaster cast of the tire track, and a tire removed from the defendant's automobile after it was impounded were relevant to corroborate, circumstantially, the testimony of the victim and the defendant’s accomplice in a prosecution for rape, criminal deviate conduct, and criminal confinement.

See Forrester v. State, 440 N.E.2d 475, 484 (Ind. 1982)(“These exhibits were clearly relevant to corroborate, circumstantially, the testimony of the prosecutrix and the accomplice about what had occurred at the abduction.”)