How do I find a vehicle based only on vehicle type and color?
May 26, 2005 2:44 PM   Subscribe

CSI Filter: How do I find the person who hit my car given that it was a woman driving a blue SUV that hit my car in State College, PA at approximately 12:11 AM May 26th, 2005?

My car was damaged in a hit and run accident in my apartment's parking lot last night while I was sleeping. The only deatils the witness who saw the accident could provide was that it was a woman driving an enormous dark SUV who caved in my driver's side door. No plate number. There is some blue paint on my door handle.
posted by Fat Guy to Law & Government (14 answers total)
Call the police and let them find her. Hit and run is illegal, and all. Not that they'll call out the CSI and start running paint checks over a banged up door, but it is rather more your job than theirs.

But also, given that it's an apartment parking lot, the traffic is likely pretty repetitive. Keep your eyes open, and there's a good chance you'll see her again.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:01 PM on May 26, 2005

I agree with jacquilynne - give your local authorities a call. They should be able to do any investigating for you. And keep an eye out for the SUV. If you're feeling investigative, I suppose you could knock on neighbors doors and ask if they had any visitors in an SUV last night, but I'd be surprised if you got an honest answer.
posted by geeky at 3:14 PM on May 26, 2005

Why not walk the lot looking for a car with said description and bits of FatGuy car on one of the bumpers? You want to find this before they clean off all the offending bits or get it repaired.

Calling the authorities is problematic if you're not going to put in for your insurance company to repair it, depending on where you live. Could impact your rates.
posted by phearlez at 3:16 PM on May 26, 2005

No direct experience, but all of that "big brother" insurance company stuff is just MADE for a situation like this, right? Now is the time to see if they really do have files on everyone!

(Seriously, do you think your insrance company can go to bat for you here? Although there may not be a big enough economic incentive)
posted by misterbrandt at 3:16 PM on May 26, 2005

Take the paint flakes to a autobody shop, for a small fee they can likely tell you what make the SUV was.
posted by Cosine at 3:39 PM on May 26, 2005

I don't think there is any mechanism by which insurance companies automatically get copies of police reports of hit-and-run accidents. So the accident won't impact Fat Guy's insurance rates unless (and maybe not even if, given that it wasn't a moving violation) he choses to report it.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:44 PM on May 26, 2005

Depending where the accident occured, it could have been recorded on security cameras. Parking lots sometimes have them, and so do many office buildings.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:52 PM on May 26, 2005

Don't give up hope, they caught the hit and run driver at this parking garage. (via boingboing)
posted by icontemplate at 4:01 PM on May 26, 2005

I'd start poking around the local auto body shops with a digital camera, pretend you're looking for one for yourself to get your car fixed and walk around each shop for a blue / black SUV. Do it this weekend or early next I'd imagine. If you see one, take a quick picture of it and the plate.
posted by pwb503 at 4:20 PM on May 26, 2005

Call the police and file a police report.
posted by fixedgear at 4:48 PM on May 26, 2005

Your odds are about zero; close to it, anyway. A kid was hit-and-run killed by a white SUV in our neighborhood some years ago. It was witnessed by the boy's father and brother. They never caught the guy. You can try poking around body shops, but your odds of finding the vehicle are slim at best. If no one was hurt, chances are the cops will not devote any manpower to your case.

File the police report, but don't expect anything out of it.
posted by Doohickie at 5:40 PM on May 26, 2005

In my experience filing a police report is, unfortunately, about as effective as talking to a brick wall. Necessary, yes, but don't expect them to do anything at all about it unless someone was injured. They'll just file it away.
posted by Justinian at 3:27 AM on May 27, 2005

I was in a hit and run a couple years ago, someone ran a light when I had a green arrow.
Despite a cop seeing the whole thing as he waited at the intersection, they never found the guy.

You may be luckier, odds are since it was an apartment parking lot it's another tenant or their guest, as others have said. People don't often drive around apartment parking lots without a reason to be there.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:48 AM on May 27, 2005

It wasn't a hit and run, but a few year back, I also wanted the license plate of a car that hit me (to verify the details they left as there was reason to think they would try to pull something, and, being hit, I hadn't got the plate, just the details they provided).

By checking for the (very small) dent in white cars that I saw while commuting etc, I spotted it and got the license plate a couple of months later. (Though this was in a small city of about half a million people).
So perhaps memorise the color of the paint chips, and get the license plate numbers of any matching SUVs with damage in the correct place. Blue SUVs are rarer and more distinctive than white cars, so you chances of success are better for that. OTOH, you haven't witnessed the damage to it firsthand, so your margin of error is greater, and it may make it more difficult to get police to act on your tip. Perhaps the witness can help out there if you take photos of it.
(I never needed to have the police involved - so I wouldn't know)
posted by -harlequin- at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2005

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