Home » Let’s See If We Can Identify This Fatal Hit-And-Run Car From These Headlight Fragments

Let’s See If We Can Identify This Fatal Hit-And-Run Car From These Headlight Fragments

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As you know, every now and then we try and help solve some vehicle identification mysteries to find cars (and their drivers) that have done terrible things, like hit-and-runs. This time, there was a hit and run around Fairfax, Virginia that took the life of a woman on December 27. The only evidence of the car that struck her are some headlight fragments, so that’s what we, the Autopian community, have to go on. This one is tricky, but we may as well see what we can do.

The crash happened at the intersection of Huntsman Boulevard and Bridle Wood Boulevard, around 8:00 pm. The damage to the car may be limited to damaged headlamp. Speaking of, let’s look at what the fragments look like:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

There’s really not much there: a few pieces of clear lens plastic, unfluted and mostly untextured, and what appears to be a side marker reflector, likely from inside the composite headlamp unit the other plastics once helped to form.

So, what could this be from? That amber reflector would likely have been oriented more vertically/diagonally, and there appears to be at least one piece with a nearly 90° corner, but with the corner rounded off.

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Here’s the pictures of the parts individually:

Piece Marker Pieces1 Pieces2

So, what could these pieces be from? It’s suspected to be from a driver’s side light unit. So far, I’m stumped, but if there’s any collection of car geeks with any chance in hell of figuring this out, it’s this group right here.

Please guess and discuss away in the comments! Perhaps we’ll hit on something, and help get justice. If you want to connect directly to Fairfax Police, you can get them through here.

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Theotherotter
Theotherotter
17 days ago

It’s definitely an Avenger lamp cover, and the corner shown in the lower left of the X image is the diagonal corner at the rear of the lamp on the fender.

Robert Stanley McLaughlin
Robert Stanley McLaughlin
18 days ago

This sort of thing makes it even cooler to read Autopian. Great work.

JT Eastwood
JT Eastwood
19 days ago

Amazing work Autopians!!!

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
19 days ago

Hey Autopians, I’m looking for skeptics to poke holes in my theory that, not only was the vehicle a Dodge Avenger, but it was this exact 2013 Dodge Avenger R/T, which showed up at Copart on December 28th and appears to have the exact parts missing on the driver’s side: https://www.copart.com/lot/82033543/salvage-2013-dodge-avenger-rt-mo-springfield

I checked the VIN report and, while it was last titled in Missouri but originally purchased in Hanover, MD, which is very close to Fairfax. Before I go all Nancy Drew on this, somebody poke holes in this. I don’t want to waste the police’s time if this is a silly idea.

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
19 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

I just submitted this info to the tip line. I figure they’ll determine pretty quickly if it’s nonsense and if it helps them in any way it’ll be worth it.

JT Eastwood
JT Eastwood
19 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

Thats crazy

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
19 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

The only major hole in this is the timing- what’s a plausible reason it could have ended up on Copart only 1 day after the accident occurred? If it was totaled by insurance it would have taken longer than one day. But it’s possible it already had a salvage title at 200k miles, although it would be more likely rebuilt. The perpetrator is an insurance adjuster? Seems like a very low probability.

Also, even more salient is the fact that Springfield, MO is a 15 hour drive from Fairfax. So unless your date is wrong, or they literally drove straight from the scene of the crime to the Copart lot, it seems highly improbable.

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
19 days ago

I know that you’re probably right – it’s very unlikely. But, hopefully, the really valuable information is the make and model. Anything that might help them catch someone who hit a 63-year-old pedestrian and drove off would be great.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
19 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

I’m not sure what astounds me more. That you may have found THE car, or that est. value is stated as $6,100.

AlterId
AlterId
18 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

That includes the value of the seat covers, too.

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
18 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

It’s not the right one, I’m afraid. I did a little Photoshoppery and the pieces from the Fairfax crash appear to be quite a but bigger than what the Missouri car is missing from its driver’s side headlight. I’m sending the police an update on my tip just to save them the time but also for more detail on the part.

Segador
Segador
18 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

Amazing work.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
19 days ago

Did you know a dollar bill makes an excellent reference object when talking a photo and you don’t have a ruler handy?
Lots of fine detail and anyone in the USA can easily get one to take measurements from.

Amazing how fast you guy found this, bravo!

AlterId
AlterId
19 days ago

I am fascinated and impressed by the knowledge, fortitude and commitment of the posters here who have identified possible vehicles in these scenarios. There’s no way I could have done it, although this time, since I have seen a Dodge Avenger of that vintage that my sister-in-law’s brother got during Cash for Clunkers, it may just be that I blocked it out.

Having said this, I do implore management to avoid the temptation of sending out a “reader engagement” team to, um, create some interest in areas with large numbers of pedestrians. If for no other reason, see what you’d be up against.

Ward William
Ward William
20 days ago

Perhaps I am stupid but I thought that the US gov had a database of all these things just like they do with paint types. I can’t believe we have AI that can give us Taylor Swift humping but we can’t use it to identify vehicle light fragments.

RC
RC
20 days ago
Reply to  Ward William

There are a lot fewer databases aggregated in .gov records than you would think.

Like, the old TV trope of “dental records?” Actually not used all that commonly, because you’ve gotta figure out where your presumably unidentified individual went to the dentist first, and then ask that dentist to break out the last set of X-rays.

Likewise, vehicle components may have been reviewed by a regulating body, but critical information (like engineering dimensions) is not searchable in any relevant way.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
18 days ago
Reply to  RC

Well there’s CODIS for one:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_DNA_Index_System

Nice thing about DNA is its in just about any biological sample. Even if your particular bad guy isn’t in CODIS there are other, similar systems a relative or even an animal might be in:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-08/man-in-the-window

https://www.nonfictionminute.org/the-nonfiction-minute/snowball-the-cat-that-convicted-a-killer

Thanks to the Snowball case Promega developed a cat specific DNA profiler, the Meowplex:

https://www.promega.com/resources/profiles-in-dna/2002/the-meowplex-a-new-dna-test-using-tetranucleotide-str-markers-for-the-domestic-cat/

From that now we have much more sophisticated kits for other animals as well, mostly for establishing pedigrees but also searchable by cops working a case.

https://dnamyhorse.com

https://www.chewy.com/wisdom-panel-premium-breed/dp/397019?utm_id=401602796&msclkid=54d779af8ab71557f1371c6f563f5d01&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping_NC_All_SSP&utm_term=4584757336258276&utm_content=All%20Products

DNA databases are pretty easy to search quickly and automatically. I’m not up to speed on all the databases out there but I can see such forensic systems existing for almost any living thing.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
19 days ago
Reply to  Ward William

As I recall this lack of real-world databases was covered in Superbad

Hillbilly Ocean
Hillbilly Ocean
20 days ago

Could they put it next to a ruler? Or an Internet-standard banana?

David Claycomb
David Claycomb
20 days ago

This is definitely from a Dodge Avenger. I had a 2008 and I recognized it as soon as I saw the pictures, especially the lip that has the angled lines. The pictures of the lens are upside down and may be throwing some off.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
20 days ago

So, it took what? 2ish hours for this group to essentially solve this riddle?

I’ve been impressed with my fellow Autopians since the beginning. The level of knowledge and humor, added with the effort needed to maintain a welcoming and civil community cannot be matched.

But this, this is next level. You guys are awesome.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
20 days ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

If they solved it, I haven’t seen confirmation I am amazed as well. My contribution would be I think it comes from some type of car maybe Amish buggy. Truly many members here are amazing.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
19 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I haven’t seen any confirmation either, but the circumstantial evidence for the Avenger is pretty solid.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
18 days ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

I agree with our more knowledgeable members. If you asked me I would have had to say probably from some sort of automobile. Like many of my posts not wrong but not particularly helpful.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago

2004-12 Nissan Titan had a side piece like that too.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/70AAAOSwQ4xiGIwO/s-l1600.gif

This feels Nissan/Infiniti to me.

Parsko
Parsko
20 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

The corner is too round.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

Yeah. I posted that before I saw the Avenger one.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago

Maybe an Infinity FX35 or FX45. Look at the amber insert here:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/w5AAAOSwbs5gQqAa/s-l1600.jpg

Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
20 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

that doesn’t have the squared-off edge that this has as far as i can tell.

NJR-XJR
NJR-XJR
20 days ago
Last edited 20 days ago by NJR-XJR
Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
20 days ago
Reply to  NJR-XJR

that looks similar to me. https://www.ebay.com/itm/325541615634

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago

Yours is the best fit so far.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

It has the lines in the clear part of the lens too. That’s it.

Parsko
Parsko
20 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

I posted it on Discord too.

Front left, obviously.

Last edited 20 days ago by Parsko
Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

So 2008-14 Dodge Avenger, left side, yes?

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
20 days ago
Reply to  NJR-XJR

I agree, the lack of any texture on the clear part says Avenger to me. Or maybe another CDJR product?

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
20 days ago
Reply to  NJR-XJR

This is a good answer, the glass has the 90 degree angle and the marker looks like a perfect match.

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
20 days ago
Reply to  NJR-XJR

I think you found it. It definitely screams Chrysler product as I was looking at the aughts Dodge Charger

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
20 days ago
Reply to  NJR-XJR

I concur. You absolutely nailed it. Nice work!

These hit and run fuckers really need fear The Autopian.

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
20 days ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

We will avenge her.

Paul E
Paul E
20 days ago

Seeing dimensions of that corner marker lens would be helpful, as well as flipping over the remnants of the headlight lens… side marker dimensions so one can try matching visually…. seeing the remnants of the lens flipped would help try to establish contours and shape of the front of the lens. My guess as to age of the car would be 2009 or older given the degree of fade, and Euro or Asian, given the lack of lens fluting–leading me to think either the beam pattern is set by the reflector, and that it’s not a projector headlight, given its size.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago
Reply to  Paul E

The FX45 Infiniti one I linked to fits 2003-08. So that would be appropriate.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
20 days ago
Reply to  Paul E

Theres a reason I carry a pair of photography scales(one with black markings on a white background and the ither the inverse) when I’m on duty, but unfortunately I’ve never met another officer that does.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
19 days ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

One dollar bill in the photo works great.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
19 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Most of the stuff I find is small enough that the scale marks under 1 cm are helpful. Bindles of drugs, loose fentanyl pills, microSD cards filled with gigabytes of porn, etc. Supervising sex offenders can lead to some unpleasant evidentiary finds.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
20 days ago

If you look at the amber lens carefully under a magnifying lens, there are probably production numbers somewhere on it that could be helpful in identifying its origin.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
20 days ago

My initial thought was a Lexus LS430, but I’m not sure if the orange lens is quite that shape

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
20 days ago

W212 E-Class, 2010-2013?

Jim Stageman
Jim Stageman
20 days ago

Could the clear flat plastic be one of those clear license plate covers?

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
20 days ago

Are we sure that both pieces are from the same car? It seems weird to have such simple clear glass and such a stylized reflector shape..

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
20 days ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

The clear plastic was probably covering the reflector.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
20 days ago

I’m thinking Cadillac art and science

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
20 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I thought that too, the closest I’ve found is a 2008-ish SRX, it has a similar orange piece and enough flat clear plastic to be a viable option but without dimensions of the orange part it’s hard to tell..

Maymar
Maymar
20 days ago

This might be a stupid question, but is there a part number molded into the reflector?

Chronometric
Chronometric
20 days ago

7 x 10 inch piece of mostly flat clear plastic is highly unusual. Obviously this unfortunate person was the victim of another rogue European-spec Citroen SM.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
20 days ago

The intact amber lens looks a lot like late model Hyundai Sonata side marker lights, but without a scale it’s hard to tell.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
20 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

It also kinda of looks like a Santa Fe side marker, but the glass shape doesn’t make sense.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
20 days ago

The lack of any identifying marks on the intact amber plastic lens isn’t helping. The lack of yellowing but cloudiness on the clear fragments tells me this isn’t a very new car.

Last edited 20 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Theresatimetocomment
Theresatimetocomment
20 days ago

This will be a tough one for sure.

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