DSP Warn About Staged Crashes


Delaware State Police are investigating a carjacking that took place after an intentional motor vehicle collision.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:31 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, 2018, on DE Route 71 (Red Lion Road), in the area of Old Summit Road, Bear. A 30 year old Middletown woman was traveling DE 71 eastbound, at the posted speed limit, when she observed a vehicle approach from behind at an increased rate of speed. As the victim’s vehicle continued moving forward, without slowing or braking, it was struck from behind by the trailing vehicle.

Immediately after the collision the victim pulled on to the shoulder of the roadway, followed by the striking vehicle. Both operators exited their vehicles and the victim began to inspect the damage to her vehicle. The suspect proceeded to walk past the victim without speaking, then entered her vehicle and drove off. A second suspect, who was a passenger in the striking vehicle, then moved to the driver’s seat and also drove off.

The victim’s vehicle was recovered in Philadelphia later the same night.

Suspect #1 could only be described as a male, 6’00, 180 lbs., wearing all dark clothing.

Suspect #2 could only be described as a male.

The suspect vehicle was described as a dark, four door vehicle.

While staged car crashes are typically carefully planned and are primarily related to insurance fraud, similar tactics may be utilized to commit vehicle theft. If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision immediately call 911 to initiate a police response. If you are alone or in an isolated area, trust your gut instincts and remain in your secured vehicle if possible, to wait for the police to arrive. If you fear for your safety, stay on the line with the 911 operator to keep them apprised of the situation as well as your current location, if it is necessary to move from the original scene.

In addition to the tactic used in this incident, described below are other common schemes used to stage a motor vehicle crash.

The T-Bone Accident: In this scenario, a scam artist will wait for your car to proceed through an intersection and then jam the gas pedal and T-bone your vehicle. When the police arrive, phony witnesses, also known as “shady helpers,” will then claim you were the one who ran the stop sign or traffic signal.

The Wave: In this scam, the other driver will notice your attempt to switch lanes and subsequently wave you ahead. As you attempt to maneuver into the lane, he will accelerate, causing a collision with your car. When the police arrive, he will deny ever providing a courtesy wave, placing you at fault.

Dual Turn Sideswipe: A driver in the outer lane of the dual turn rams into you if you go even the slightest bit out of the inner lane as the two of you are making your turns. They may also drive a bit into your lane and swipe your car and then blame you. “Witnesses” working with the con artist may corroborate his story.

Brake Slam: This simple scam involves the driver in front of you slamming on their brakes for no reason so that you cannot avoid rear-ending her vehicle.

Swoop and Stop: In this scenario, a car will suddenly pull in front of yours and stop. Another vehicle will simultaneously pull up alongside your car, preventing you from swerving to avoid an accident.