Volume 45, Issue 1 (January 2000)
Neck Injuries Caused by Being Run Over by a Motor Vehicle
We report a homicide involving the use of a motor vehicle and simulating a traffic accident. This observation was the reason for a retrospective analysis of neck injuries in victims of traffic accidents, in which a person has been run over (RO) by a motor vehicle. The autopsy material of two institutes from 1990–1996 was used. The following findings were obtained in 63 victims: laryngohyoid fractures (LH-fx): 10 cases (16%) with a clear difference between the institutes (22% versus 7%). This resulted from examination with special regard to such injuries in many cases at one of the institutes, whereas only autopsy reports were taken retrospectively from the other institute. Five of these cases had suffered only minor LH-fx (as seen frequently in strangulation), although extensive run over (RO) injuries of the other cervical tissues were present. All LH-fx were caused by direct compression of the neck; in eight of the cases they were combined with mandibular fractures. Petechial hemorrhages (petH) at the eye lids/conjunctivae were seen in 19 cases (30%); 16 of these were related to thorax RO injuries, three to abdominal RO only. Four cases involved LH-fx, petH as well as cervical skin lesions and additional cervical soft tissue hemorrhages. Interpretation can be extremely difficult with this combination of findings if the character of the event cannot be established as accidental beyond doubt on the basis of the circumstances.