8-3 Crash Investigations and Reporting

Policy Type: Local

Approved By: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 4/5/2013

Current Revision Approved: 10/9/2019



The VCU Police Department (VCUPD) is responsible for investigating traffic crashes that occur within VCUPD’s jurisdiction and for determining whether such crashes were caused by traffic violations. The purpose of this policy is to establish department guidelines for officers to follow when investigating traffic crashes, crashes on public property, hit and run situations, and traffic-related injuries and fatalities. This policy also outlines investigative and reporting responsibilities regarding VCUPD vehicles and Commonwealth of Virginia state-owned vehicles. Employees who drive police and/or state-owned vehicles are bound by VCU’s Vehicle Accident Prevention and Safety policy at all times. 


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the supervisor to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling, and/or disciplinary action is initiated.



  1. DEPARTMENT VEHICLE – Any vehicle, including all owned, leased, rented or seized vehicle(s) currently utilized by VCUPD.
  2. REPORTABLE CRASH – Any crash that results in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of $1,500 or more. A Police Crash Report (FR-300) shall be completed for all reportable crashes and is the official form that is submitted to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 


Crash Response, Investigation and Reporting

  1. Officers shall respond to, investigate and report all of the following types of traffic crashes that occur within VCUPD’s jurisdiction, regardless of whether they occur on public or private property:
    1. Hit and run crashes
    2. State vehicle crashes
    3. Crashes due to impairment caused by alcohol or drugs
    4. Crashes involving hazardous material spills
  2. Officers shall respond to all the following types of traffic crashes that occur within VCUPD’s jurisdiction (investigation and reporting is dependent upon statutory limitations):
    1. Crashes that create major traffic congestion
    2. Crashes that require damaged vehicle(s) to be towed
    3. Crashes involving disturbances between involved operators
    4. All crashes occurring in the public right of way, including the following:
      1. Crashes on public streets, sidewalks or unpaved Richmond City property, including those caused by holes or other surface defects or underground utilities
      2. Damage inflicted upon a privately-owned building by the state
  3. Private Property Crashes: VCUPD will not respond to crashes involving property damage that occur on private property within VCUPD’s jurisdiction, unless one or more of the following applies:
    1. There is a dispute between the vehicle operators
    2. A hit and run has occurred
    3. A state-owned vehicle is involved
    4. Alcohol and/or drug impairment is involved
    5. Hazardous materials are involved
  4. Non-Reportable Crashes Under the Statutory Limit (see Va. Code §46.2-373):
    1. When an officer responds to a traffic crash that results in only property damage and the total apparent damage is under $1,500 and it does not involve a department or other state-owned vehicle, the officer shall clear the roadway, restore the normal traffic flow, and verify the drivers’ license, registration and automobile insurance information.
    2. The officer shall briefly explain to the operator(s) that the Commonwealth of Virginia does not require that a crash report be completed when there are no injuries and the total property damage does not exceed $1,500. The officer shall assist the involved parties, including the operator(s) and any passenger(s), in the exchange of information required for insurance purposes by supplying a copy of the VCU Crash Form to each operator and passenger. If there are insufficient copies of the Crash Form to distribute to all involved parties, the officer should provide any other involved passenger(s) with a CAD number and VCUPD contact information in order for them to obtain a copy of the VCU Crash Form at a later time.
    3. When a person involved in a crash is clearly at-fault, they will be charged accordingly.
  5. Hit and Run Crash Investigation:
    1. When a vehicle operator fails to stop and take account of the crash, the incident shall be investigated regardless of the amount of damage. In any incident in which there is sufficient information available for follow-up, the officer shall continue the investigation until an arrest has been made or all leads have been exhausted. When the offender is not arrested and/or follow-up is impossible, the case will be submitted to the Investigations Division for further review.
    2. Private Property – Hit and Run is a criminal offense regardless of where the offense takes place. Therefore, the officer must complete an IBR for the property owner; however, the officer is not required to complete an FR-300 for crashes occurring on private property.
    3. In a hit and run crash involving serious injury or fatality, the on duty supervisor must be notified immediately and the RPD Crash Team must be called to respond.
    4. When applicable, the following reports must be compiled:
      1. IBR – An IBR must contain all pertinent information regarding the crash, as well as a reasonable estimate of damages.
      2. FR-300 – For Hit and Run crashes with damages exceeding $1,500 or involving injury, the following shall occur:
        1. The officer shall send the FR-300 to the Records Analyst who will update the information as the investigation is completed.
        2. The Hit and Run crash investigator must update and file the FR-300 with the DMV based on the results of the investigation.
        3. The investigating officer must submit an IBR supplemental report detailing a final account of the report.
    5. An officer making an arrest can assign themselves as the crash investigator. Their report must include a diagram, dollar amount of damages, extent of injuries, directions, vehicle descriptions, witness description (type of vehicle observed compared with DMV information), and telephone number. If the crash is reportable, an FR-300 must also be included.
    6. Towing Vehicles Involved in Hit and Run Crashes:
      1. If the suspect’s vehicle is needed as evidence, the officer shall have the vehicle towed for investigation purposes.
      2. If a vehicle is towed as a result of an officer’s request that it be placed in the tow lot section - “Hold for Investigation – Hit and Run,” there must be an IBR on-file. The officer must indicate on the IBR whether the vehicle is being held for investigation.
      3. NOTE: For additional information, please refer to Written Directive 8-8 Parking Enforcement and Vehicle Impoundment Procedures.
  6. Police Pursuits:
    1. If a crash occurs during the course of a police pursuit involving one or more citizens’ vehicles, the RPD Crash Team shall be notified to respond and investigate the crash.
    2. If a crash occurs during the course of a police pursuit involving one or more state or department vehicles, the Virginia State Police shall be notified to respond and investigate the crash.
  7. For major crashes involving state or department vehicles with extensive property damage and/or injuries, the responding officer shall immediately notify Dispatch who shall request that Virginia State Police respond to investigate the crash.
  8. For vehicle crashes involving traffic fatalities and/or serious bodily injury (e.g., severed limbs or partial ejection), but no state or department vehicle involvement:
    1. The responding officer shall immediately notify the on duty supervisor who will respond to the scene, and the RPD Crash Team shall be notified to respond and investigate the crash.
    2. Once the RPD Crash Team responds, the scene shall be turned over to the investigating RPD Crash Team officer.
    3. If a member of the VCU community is involved in the crash, VCUPD shall also complete an administrative report.
  9. Injury Determination: For crash reporting purposes, an injury is classified as one of the following:
    1. Deceased before the report was made
    2. Visible signs of injury (bleeding wounds or distorted members)
    3. Less serious visible injuries (bruises, abrasions, swelling, limping, etc.)
    4. No visible injury, but complaint of pain or momentary unconsciousness
    5. No injury
  10. Traffic Crash Investigation Responsibilities:
    1. The first officer on the scene shall:
      1. Protect the scene in order to prevent any further damage and/or injury
      2. Identify any injured parties and begin first aid procedures, if necessary
      3. Call for emergency medical services personnel and equipment, as needed
      4. If fire or hazardous materials are involved:
        1. Approach the incident from upwind, if possible
        2. Stay clear of all spills, vapors, fumes and smoke
        3. Protect the incident scene
        4. Do not assume that odorless gases or vapors are harmless
        5. Request Fire department response
      5. Control vehicular and pedestrian movement in the vicinity of the crash, as needed. This task may require:
        1. Requesting additional personnel
        2. Re-routing traffic by manually placing flares, cones or other traffic-controlling devices
        3. Assuming manual control of traffic signals
        4. NOTE: For additional information, please refer to Written Directive 8-6 Traffic Direction and Control.
      6. Consult with a supervisor to determine whether an RPD Crash Team needs to respond
      7. Secure and maintain the crash scene for investigative purposes
      8. Remain in charge until relieved by the investigating officer, a supervisor, or Fire department personnel (when applicable)
    2. Investigating Officer: When a crash involving property damage or non-serious injury occurs, the investigating officer shall:
      1. Interview the operators and any witnesses
      2. Examine and record any and all vehicle damage
      3. Examine and record the effects of the crash on the roadway
      4. Collect and preserve evidence as needed
      5. Take photographs and measurements as needed
      6. Complete the appropriate follow-up activities, including all of the following:
        1. Collect off-scene data
        2. Obtain and record formal witness statements
        3. Prepare formal reports to support any charges issued
        4. Reconstruct the crash (if needed)
        5. Safeguard the personal property of crash victims, and whenever necessary, secure property in accordance with Written Directive 3-5 Property Management.
      7. Facilitate the exchange of information between the operators
      8. Complete and submit the traffic crash report prior to the end of the officer’s tour of duty.
        1. Note: Exceptions may be made by the investigator’s supervisor, whenever necessary.


Documentation Completion, Distribution and Responsibility

  1. FR-300 Completion:
    1. All reportable crashes investigated by VCUPD officers shall be reported on the standard FR-300 Police Crash Report provided by the DMV.
    2. The Police Officers’ Instruction Manual for Completing Police Crash Reports shall be utilized as a guide for completing the FR-300.
    3. Officers shall use the VCUPD Crash Form to assist vehicle operators and involved passengers with exchanging information.
    4. For reportable vehicle crashes that do not involve fatality or injury, a hit and run with injury, DUI/DUID or damage to state vehicle/state property, the officer is only required to complete the FR-300. The requesting officer shall request an incident number that will be utilized to identify the report.
    5. NOTE: All FR-300 forms must be completed electronically.
  2. FR-300 Submission via the DMV’s Traffic Records Electronic Data System (TREDS):
    1. Prior to the end of the officer’s tour of duty, the FR-300 shall be submitted electronically to the officer’s supervisor through TREDS, unless an extension is requested and granted.
    2. The officer’s immediate supervisor shall review the electronic FR-300 to ensure its completeness and accuracy before signing the report as the Reviewing Officer in TREDS.
    3. The completed and approved FR-300 shall be submitted directly to the DMV through TREDS.
  3. Additional Responsibilities Pertaining to the FR-300:
    1. If the electronic FR-300 contains errors, it will be returned in TREDS to the investigating officer by the investigating officer’s supervisor for correction.
    2. FR-300 reports shall be corrected by the investigating officer and returned to the patrol supervisor on the same day that they are received by the investigating officer.
    3. During field training, field training officers are responsible for and shall sign all reports prepared by officers in TREDS.
  4. State Form FR422A Confirmation of Liability Insurance:
    1. Form FR422A may be compiled whenever an officer believes that a person involved in a crash does not have valid automobile insurance.
    2. Issuing officers may complete the information on the left half of the form and have the individual sign as required. The original copy shall be given to the operator of the vehicle and the blue copy forwarded to the DMV.
  5. Police Department Vehicle Crashes:
    1. Whenever a department member is involved in a crash while operating a department vehicle, a supervisor of the next highest rank shall be notified immediately.
    2. If necessary, proper emergency equipment should be requested. The involved vehicles are not to be moved, unless authorized by the supervisor or unless the investigating officer concludes that it is necessary.
    3. Once the crash is assessed, the investigating supervisor shall provide notification through the chain-of-command.
    4. The supervisor shall assign an officer to investigate the crash. 
    5. The investigating officer shall ensure that the damaged department vehicle is taken to VCU Vehicle Maintenance for a damage estimate as soon as practicable following the crash, regardless of the amount of damage.
    6. Whenever an officer sustains an injury in a department vehicle crash, the supervisor shall prepare the Employer’s Accident Report Form (VWC Form No. 3) and a Supervisor's Investigation Report. Should the crash involve serious injury to an officer or other individual(s), VCU’s Insurance and Risk Management shall also be notified.
    7. Anytime that a department vehicle operator claims mechanical failure of the department vehicle, the investigating officer shall ensure that the vehicle has not been restarted or moved by anyone at the scene and the vehicle will be immediately towed to VCU Vehicle Maintenance for inspection.
    8. For significant department vehicle crashes and/or crashes involving conflicting witness statements, the vehicle(s) shall not be moved or restarted until retrieval of the black box data is complete.
    9. The investigating officer shall complete an SP-209 State Vehicle Crash Report and save it to the Patrol share drive subfolder entitled – SP-209 forms, as well as an IBR, regardless of whether the crash is deemed reportable or non-reportable. 
    10. The operator of the department vehicle involved in the crash shall complete the Automobile Loss Notice/Accident Report and forward it to the investigating supervisor for review. The investigating supervisor must subsequently forward the Vehicle Crash Report package, a copy of the FR-300, and copies of all related documentation to Insurance and Risk Management immediately upon completion.
    11. The investigating officer’s supervisor shall also compile a VCUPD-22 Supervisory Investigation – Department Vehicle Accident Report. In this report, the supervisor shall make a recommendation as to whether the crash is deemed to fall WITHIN POLICY or OUT OF POLICY, based on a review of applicable VCUPD policies, regulations, and the Code of Virginia.
      1. NOTE: Officers involved in department vehicle crashes are bound by the procedures set forth in VCU’s Vehicle Accident Prevention and Safety policy.
    12. Distribution of Forms:
      1. When a supervisor investigates a reportable crash in which a police officer is involved that occurred during the performance of the officer’s law enforcement duties, the supervisor shall complete a VCUPD-21 DMV Notification of Officer Accident form and attach the completed form to the electronic FR-300 at the time of submission to the DMV via TREDS.
      2. After the supervisor has approved the electronic FR-300 and any necessary attachments for a reportable crash involving a department vehicle, a copy of the approved report shall be forwarded to the department’s Fleet Manager, along with pictures of the crash.
      3. The investigating supervisor shall place the completed forms in three packets. The forms shall be collated in the following order:
        1. Commonwealth of Virginia Automobile Incident Report
        2. SP-209
        3. VCUPD-22 Supervisory Investigation – Department Vehicle Accident
        4. FR-300 (if applicable)
        5. Pictures
        6. Any Related Reports
      4. The investigating supervisor shall forward, through appropriate channels, one copy of the packet to the division captain and the original to Insurance and Risk Management.
  6. Office of Fleet Management Services (OFMS) Fleet Vehicle Accidents (OFMS leased vehicles):
    1. If a driver is involved an accident involving an OFMS leased vehicle, the driver must immediately call the Vehicle Management Control Center (VMCC) at 1-866-857-6866 (then press 1). VMCC will then make arrangements to contact Virginia State Police.
      1. If the vehicle needs to be towed, VMCC will arrange towing and will advise of the location where the vehicle is going to be towed. VMCC will also secure transportation arrangements for the driver and any passengers to a safe location.
      2. If the vehicle does not need to be towed, VMCC will advise the driver of where to deliver the vehicle, along with the date and time for delivery. This information must be forwarded to VCU Property and Evidence personnel immediately upon receipt.
      3. VMCC will inquire whether Virginia State Police need to be notified for accident reporting purposes.
        1. Reference subsection (E) above - Police Department Vehicle Crashes (beginning on page 6) for additional guidance.
      4. The driver is required to complete an Automobile Loss Notice/Accident Report form on any accident/incident, regardless of the amount of property damage incurred or resulting personal injury within ten (10) business days of the accident. The forms Required documentation:
        1. SP-209 form
        2. IBR (if necessary)
        3. FR-300, unless the accident is non-reportable or occurred on private property
        4. Automobile Loss Notice/Accident Report
        5. Photos of damage
      5. All of the above paperwork will continue to be sent to VCU’s Insurance and Risk Management office, but a copy of the of the Automobile Loss Notice/Accident Report must be forwarded directly to VMCC (2400 W. Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23220 or facsimile (804) 545-5020), as well as to vmcc@dgs.virginia.gov.
  7. Non-Department State Vehicle Crashes (including state-rented vehicles):
    1. Regardless of whether the crash occurred on public or private property, the officer must complete an SP-209 form and save it to the Patrol share drive subfolder entitled – SP-209 Forms, an administrative report, and any other applicable crash forms.
    2. The investigating officer shall ensure that the state vehicle operator’s supervisor is notified and is requested to respond to the crash location, if possible.
    3. Officers shall remind the operators of the involved state vehicle(s) that they are bound by the procedures set forth in VCU’s Vehicle Accident Prevention and Safety policy, including, but not limited to, notifying their department about the incident.
  8. Additional Notification in Certain Instances:
    1. Insurance and Risk Management shall be notified immediately when any vehicle owned or utilized by the state and operated by a state employee is involved in a crash involving a fatality, serious injury, extensive property damage, or is of an unusually serious nature (such as multiple injuries, multiple vehicles involved, or it is apparent that the university will be involved in litigation).
    2. When the investigating officer opines that the operator of the state (owned or utilized) vehicle is suspected of operating the vehicle under the influence of intoxicants or is suspected of gross negligence at the time of the crash, the investigating officer must immediately notify their supervisor.
  9. Crashes Involving Sworn Police Department Employees in a Personally-Owned Vehicle (POV):
    1. Whenever a sworn department employee is involved in a crash in a POV in which they are issued a citation for their involvement and/or the crash is considered reportable, the employee shall immediately notify the on-duty supervisor.
    2. The on-duty supervisor shall determine the best course of action based on the circumstances of the incident.


Placement of Charges and Witness Summonses

  1. When there is probable cause to believe that any vehicle operator involved in a reportable crash committed a violation of the law, the investigating officer shall issue the appropriate charges against the operator.
  2. If a non-fatal crash occurs on private property, the only applicable charges are “Reckless Driving,” “DUI/DUID,” and/or “Hit and Run.”
  3. The summoning of witnesses for crashes shall be in accordance with the provisions outlined in Written Directive 6-17 Virginia Uniform Summons.
  4. Jurisdiction of Arrest:
    1. If a crash results in a traffic arrest and a criminal charge, both violations must be scheduled before the Richmond City General District - Traffic Court. If a crash does not result in a traffic arrest and a traffic-related criminal charge is issued, the criminal violation must be scheduled before the Richmond City General District - Traffic Court.
    2. When an operator is charged with a traffic violation, the officer shall provide the operator(s) with all of the following information:
      1. Details regarding the specific charge
      2. Date and time of the scheduled court appearance
      3. Whether a court appearance is optional or mandatory
      4. Whether a plea can be entered and/or a fine paid
      5. Any other applicable information regarding the crash and/or charges
  5. Vehicle Dispositions:
    1. Victim’s Vehicle – If the victim’s vehicle is immobilized as a result of the crash and is creating a traffic hazard, the officer must ask the owner whether they have a preferred towing company. If there is no preference, the department’s non-preference towing service will be called.
      1. NOTE: If the immobilized vehicle presents a potential traffic hazard or the vehicle operator’s towing service does not respond in a timely fashion, the department’s non-preference towing service will be called.
    2. Suspect’s Vehicle – If a suspect’s vehicle is located, it shall be handled in accordance with Written Directive 8-8 Parking Enforcement and Vehicle Impoundment Procedures.
  6. Property:
    1. Every effort shall be made to secure the victim’s property. Items of value that cannot be returned to the victim shall be properly secured and the victim must be provided with information on how to retrieve their personal property.
    2. Uninjured crash victims shall maintain control of their own property.
    3. Any property found with a vehicle that belongs to a criminal suspect or that may potentially be used in a criminal case must be entered as evidence with the Property and Evidence office.


Accident Scene Injuries and Hazard Situations

  1. The assigned officer shall proceed as rapidly and as safely as possible to the accident scene.
  2. The police vehicles at the scene shall not be parked in a manner that will endanger other pedestrians or motorists. The responding officer should consider using the police vehicle as a shield to protect the scene, as well as themselves. The officer must leave their vehicle’s emergency lights activated.
  3. During periods of reduced visibility or darkness, the officer shall put on a reflective safety vest before leaving the vehicle. Flares should be used with due care to create an illuminated warning pattern.
  4. In cases involving a fire risk from leaking or ruptured gas tanks or where there is a sign of hazardous materials, the fire department shall be requested to respond.
  5. When hazardous materials are involved, the fire department representative shall assume control of the scene and all officers will provide support as necessary. Any accident investigation must occur after receiving approval from the fire department representative.



VCUPD EVOT instructors shall provide behind the wheel training to drivers of passenger vans for any department requesting such training. Documentation of the completed training shall be forwarded to the employee/student’s assigned department and Insurance and Risk Management.


Tools and Equipment

Equipment to be carried in patrol vehicles to facilitate the investigation of traffic accidents shall include:

  1. First aid kit
  2. Two blankets in a suitable container
  3. Fire extinguisher
  4. Supply of flares (minimum of 12)
  5. Mask and gown
  6. CPR mask


Crash Review and Consequences

In accordance with VCU’s Vehicle Accident Prevention and Safety policy, all crashes involving VCU vehicles will trigger a review by the VCU Accident Review Committee, which is comprised of five (5) VCU employees who review each potential accident. The committee will consider all relevant information, including information provided by the VCU driver, witnesses to the accident and information contained in any police reports in determining its decision. After reviewing all of the materials, the committee will evaluate the event as preventable, non-preventable, or incident.

If damage to the VCU vehicle exceeds $2,000 or the preventable accident causes injury, the committee may provide a written report of the findings to the driver’s department head. The department head will consult with HR Employee Relations and then advise the driver of the findings and of any action that will be taken with respect to their driving privileges. In addition:

  1. An employee frequent driver will be required to successfully complete a remedial defensive driving course at the department’s expense before driving privileges may be restored. A student’s driving privileges will be permanently revoked.
  2. If an employee frequent driver has a second preventable accident within a 12-month period that results in damage to the VCU vehicle in excess of $2,000 or causes injury, the employee’s driving privileges will be suspended for 30 days, and they will be required to successfully complete a remedial defensive driving course at the department’s expense before driving privileges may be restored.
  3. An employee frequent driver who has three preventable accidents within a 24-month period that results in damage to the VCU vehicle in excess of $2,000 or cause injury, will have their driving privileges permanently revoked.
  4. NOTE: Further discipline may include appropriate action under the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Conduct policy, Administrative and Professional Faculty and Faculty Holding Administrative Positions, Faculty Promotion, and Tenure policy, Rules and Procedures or other applicable university policies and may affect continued employment.
  5. For additional department-generated guidance, please see the VCU Police Crash Matrix.


Forms and Documentation

  1. FR-300 Police Crash Report Form
  2. SP-209 State Vehicle Crash Report
  3. FR422A Confirmation of Liability Insurance Form
  4. VCUPD Crash Form
  5. Automobile Loss Notice/Accident Report
  6. VCUPD-22 Supervisory Investigation – Police Vehicle Accident
  7. VCUPD-61 Accident Report of Workers’ Compensation Claim
  8. VCUPD-62 Physician Selection for Occupational Injuries/Diseases
  9. IBR
  10. Administrative Report
  11. VCU Police Crash Matrix


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

4/5/2013 - 8-3 Crash Investigations and Reporting

4/23/2018 - 8-3 Crash Investigations and Reporting