Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Ariel Gruenthal-Rankin

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Marissa Ramsier

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Mary Scoggin

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Skeletal trauma analysis of motor vehicle collisions has the potential to support or contradict reported collision circumstances. This project analyzed the skeletal injuries that pedestrians sustain in fatal collisions according to vehicle types (car, truck, SUV, van, bus, semi, etc.). Data were collected from reports and databases related to cases that occurred in King County, Washington. The pelvis and lower extremities of the body were analyzed for the frequency of skeletal fractures, grouped by pelvis, femora, patellae, tibiae, and fibulae skeletal groups. A Kruskal-Wallis test showed an overall no significant difference (P<0.05) in fracture quantity in skeletal regions between different vehicle groups. A multiple pairwise comparison using Dunn’s procedure also found no significant differences between vehicle type groups. A Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis showed an overall success rate of 37.29% when classifying injury profiles to vehicle type. The findings of this project can be applied to further research into the skeletal analysis of automobile versus pedestrian collisions. Low classification rates suggest that fracture frequency alone should not be used to assist in associating injuries with potential vehicle types in medicolegal investigations. Rather, the findings of this project lead the researcher to recommend that investigators and forensic practitioners move towards standardization in the quality and type of collected data—specific recommendations being the collection of actual speed and inclusion of full-body imaging in postmortem examinations to enable more detailed analyses.

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