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Is law enforcement to blame for missing man's untended injuries?

A California man who was involved in a single-car rollover accident was located after a week of police investigation. The search for the missing man ended when police, clueless as to the man's whereabouts and without any promising leads, returned to the scene of the car accident to look for clues, only to find the man himself lying unconscious, but alive, in the thick brush adjacent to the scene of the accident.

The California Highway Patrol officers who investigated the car accident were baffled as to how they missed locating the man at the initial accident investigation. According to CHP, an intense 45-minute search of the surrounding area had been conducted by highway patrol and firefighters, including the use of high-powered lighting to try to locate the man in the thicket of brush and trees along the highway, but was unsuccessful.

The man is now unconscious and in critical condition at an area hospital, and has been unable to respond to police questioning since being pulled out of the brush last week. Police are calling the fact that he was still alive miraculous after the man appeared to have survived for over a week without food or water.

It is unclear whether there will be an investigation into the steps emergency responders took during the initial investigation, but it appears that CHP officers had some idea that it was possible the victim was somewhere out of view, deep in the thick foliage surrounding that stretch of highway, bringing into question the thoroughness of their initial search. Police who diligently followed up may have located the man, but it on has to wonder: if CHP officers had conducted an appropriate search at the scene of the car accident, would the man have been in such poor shape when he was located?

Source: San Diego Times-Union, "Injured man found week after rollover crash in CA," May 17, 2012

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