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NARRATOR: A hit and run driver tried
to remove all evidence of the crime.
The vehicle was repaired, washed, polished,
vacuumed, then sold to a new owner.
Was it possible that some forensic evidence remained?
It was late in the evening on a hot summer
night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
the state capital.
The streets were empty.
As Artie Allen was driving home, he saw something odd.
There were sparks flying over the top of a jeep.
The brake lights went on.
Then it sped away.
Allen stopped and on the sidewalk
found a man unconscious and bleeding profusely.
The sparks he saw were from the man's cigarette.
A short time later, paramedics declared
the victim dead at the scene.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: My first impression
was that the pedestrian had stepped out into traffic
and was hit by a vehicle that was
traveling south on Cameron Street.
There really wasn't anything that we could reconstruct
to say how fast the vehicle was traveling.
NARRATOR: The victim was 42-year-old Kenneth Cains,
a former Marine, who worked as a day laborer and lived nearby.
Cains was unmarried and had no children.
LOUIS CAINS: Well, I was angry, upset.
Because it was a hit and run, we didn't know who did it.
We didn't know-- I didn't know if they
would find out who did it.
NARRATOR: The witness, Artie Allen,
said the hit and run vehicle was a dark SUV,
but he wasn't sure of its make, model, or license plate number.
The scene itself provided very little evidence.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: We had two scuff marks with blood
in the right lane of the roadway,
as well as 20 plus pieces of lens fragments from a vehicle.
NARRATOR: Police collected the pieces of glass and plastic
at the scene and took them to the lab.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: Officer Lyda, who
was one of the investigators that responded to the scene.
I gave him the task of piecing together, if possible, the lens
fragments that we found at the scene.
NARRATOR: Lyda resorted to one of the oldest
forensic techniques, what's known as a physical fit.
Like a puzzle, using scotch tape,
he connected pieces that appeared to match.
Some were no more than slivers.
RAYMOND LYDA: It was tedious.
There's numerous pieces and just matching the lens pieces
together was tedious, but I was determined.
NARRATOR: After three long days, the pieces of broken lens
provided some useful information.
There was a Chrysler car company logo
along with the manufacturer's code number.
From that, he was able to identify the vehicle.
RAYMOND LYDA: The gentleman I talked to was actually a parts
manager and was able to narrow down the vehicle to a '96
or a '97 Jeep Cherokee, Laredo, or even a Grand Cherokee.
NARRATOR: At the autopsy the medical examiner
found black paint chips on Kenneth Cains' body, most
likely from the vehicle that killed him,
and he also recovered glass from Cains' elbow, which
had gone through the windshield.
The toxicology report showed that Cains had been drinking.
CHARLES THOMPSON: Mr. Cains had a blood
alcohol content of 0.17%.
That state of inebriation probably
contributed to this accident, in the sense that he stumbled
off the sidewalk into the street.
NARRATOR: To find the driver, investigators
had to quickly locate the black 1996 or '97 jeep,
but there were thousands in the area.
Otherwise, with some body repairs,
the driver could cover up his crime.
As with all hit and run accidents,
police began their investigation by contacting local body shops
to see if anyone had brought in a black jeep
that had front end body damage.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: We did get a couple of garages that called
in, and we would go to the garages
and look at the vehicle, and none of the vehicles' damage
matched the damages that we were looking for.
NARRATOR: Months passed with no solid leads.
There was only one witness to the accident.
No others came forward.
Investigators began to worry if they'd ever
find the person who killed Kenneth Cains.
CHARLES THOMPSON: This accident had really fallen off the map,
in terms of news coverage in Harrisburg,
very quickly after it occurred.
It was just another unfortunate traffic accident,
in which somebody had lost their life.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: It went cold.
We stopped getting tips.
We didn't get any calls for many more repair shops,
and at that time, which was about a month later,
we just put it on hold, and we moved on to current accidents.
NARRATOR: Then, about six months later, police got an unsigned
Christmas card with a tantalizing
piece of information.
UNKNOWN WOMAN: To Whom It May Concern, this past July
a hit and run driver killed a man on Cameron Street.
I have heard that state representative, Tom Druce,
was out drinking that night.
The representative traded in his state-leased vehicle
the next day.
It was a black jeep.
NARRATOR: 38-year-old Thomas Druce
was a four-term Republican state representative.
JOHN MICEK: He's tremendously smart politically,
had great political sense, was a tremendous, effective
legislator as well, for somebody so relatively young.
He was only all of 40, which, of course, in political years,
is still a pretty young guy, and he just sort of
had that aura about him of a guy--
and you can see that in people-- of a guy on the rise.
NARRATOR: The card was postmarked from downtown
Harrisburg, and police thought that
the handwriting looked like a woman's.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: The Christmas card, I believe,
came from someone that works close with Druce, possibly
a secretary, and perhaps a jilted lover.
ED MARSICO: I was somewhat suspicious.
It's not uncommon to get tips that prove to be false.
NARRATOR: Investigators checked with the Department of Motor
Vehicles and discovered that Tom Druce was driving a leased
black jeep that had been provided
for him by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.
ED MARSICO: I decided to convene a team
or a task force of investigators.
I knew this was going to be a different type
NARRATOR: When police questioned Druce,
he was cooperative and denied any involvement
in the hit and run accident.
On the night of the fatal accident,
Druce said he was with several staff
members having a few drinks.
Afterwards, he said he stopped by his office
at the state capital, picked up some files,
then got onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike to drive home.
He admitted he was in a minor traffic accident,
but said it happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike
when he hit a traffic barrel on the side of the highway.
WILLIAM WENNER: He filed a claim with his insurance company
and told the insurance carrier that he struck a sign
on the Pennsylvania Turnpike while he was in route home
that particular evening.
NARRATOR: The insurance company paid $3,500 to fix Druce's SUV.
It was repaired.
Then Druce returned the vehicle to the leasing company a week
after the accident and got a new vehicle.
ED MARSICO: Initially Druce said that it was time
to get a new lease and that the mileage on his lease
was getting high.
NARRATOR: Then, investigators realized
there was a way to substantiate his story.
If Druce was telling the truth, that the accident happened
as he drove home on the Pennsylvania Turnpike,
then the security cameras at his office building's parking lot
would show there was no body damage to his vehicle
before he got onto the highway.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: The Capitol Complex has its own police
department, and the whole complex is photographed,
but it's kind of amazing that, that night,
that the gate that Druce entered, that camera
malfunctioned, and, in fact, the capitol cop that was working
that gate retired right after the Druce investigation
NARRATOR: A fascinating coincidence.
REPORTER: Are you going to resign?
NARRATOR: When the press learned that state representative, Tom
Druce, had been driving a vehicle similar to the one
leaving the scene of a fatal hit and run accident,
there were all sorts of questions and very few answers.
BYSTANDER: Who wants somebody like that for their rep?
That's what he is, a murderer.
CHARLES THOMPSON: From the start,
there was a lot of concern about a white politician,
from a wealthy area outside of Philadelphia, getting
special treatment from the authorities at the expense
of this poor, down on his luck African American.
LOUIS CAINS: I thought that Druce was getting
special treatment because of who he was.
NARRATOR: After the accident, had the jeep prepared,
then returned it to the leasing company, who, in turn, sold it
at a car auction, where it was purchased by a New York State
car dealership and then sold to another customer
as a used vehicle.
And six months had passed since the accident.
Even if investigators found the jeep,
would it reveal anything useful after all this time?
RAYMOND LYDA: I didn't think we were going to find anything
from the road grime and dirt, water,
and everything getting in there.
ED MARSICO: We had no eye witnesses
who could put Tom Druce behind the wheel of a car,
driving at that location, at that time.
So it was going to be kind of imperative that there be
some type of physical evidence to connect
him with the crime scene.
NARRATOR: With the help of New York State officials,
investigators found the jeep's new owner
and impounded the vehicle.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: We took the vehicle up to the state police
mechanical garage up on [inaudible] Street,
and with the assistance of state police,
dismantled the passenger front end of the vehicle
to gather evidence.
NARRATOR: First, they measured the height of the passenger
side mirror and compared it to the severe bruise
on the left side of Cains' body.
The height and size were identical.
And they also found what looked like a human hair.
ROBERT CLARK: It was caught in the seam,
on the right side mirror, where it's spring loaded,
so that if there's impact there, it flexes back and then comes
NARRATOR: Next, they disassembled the vehicle.
ROBERT CLARK: You basically break the car down into a grid,
and you start at one spot and work your way
all the way through, and then you come back and do it again.
By putting an extreme amount of light onto a surface area,
very small dust particles, hair, fibers, stuff,
and also by using an oblique lighting
or a side-lighting technique, a lot of times
you'll see materials that you would
not see with the naked eye.
NARRATOR: And with this technique,
he found some blue fibers still present on the right front
tire, and there were shards of broken glass
in the crevice with the windshield wipers.
Was it possible these shards were
from the broken windshield?
ROBERT CLARK: If you're going to search everything, you search
every pocket, crevice, nook, cranny that you can find.
NARRATOR: The glass, fiber, and hair
were sent to the forensics lab for testing.
To see if the shards of glass matched the glass taken
from the victim's elbow, scientists
tested its refractive index.
PAUL DAUBE: An example of this is
if you look at a glass of water with a spoon or a knife
or a fork in it, you'll see that the knife or fork appears
to be going in a straight line and, once it hits the water,
it looks like it's offset.
NARRATOR: The shards were ground into tiny pieces, placed
in an oil solution, then heated.
PAUL DAUBE: So what you're trying to do
is to get the liquid and the glass
to be at the exact same refractive
index at the same time, and, when that happens,
the glass becomes invisible.
NARRATOR: The glass from Kenneth Cains' elbow
had the same refractive index as the broken windshield
pieces found in Tom Druce's SUV.
Next, scientists took some paint from the jeep
and compared it to paint found on Kenneth Cains' body.
The samples were heated to 700 degrees centigrade.
PAUL DAUBE: That intense heat blows the sample apart,
but the sample blows apart the same way every time because
of the heat, the amount of heat and the amount of time
that it's applied.
NARRATOR: Both paint samples had identical reactions,
but the paint and glass found on the victim
could have come from thousands of other jeeps, not
just the hit and run vehicle.
So investigators tested their last two pieces
of evidence, the fibers and the human hair.
Fibers from Kenneth Cains' jeans were compared to the fibers
found in the wheel well of Tom Druce's jeep.
Both were cotton and identical in shape and color,
but the most telling was the human hair.
Its shape and thickness told investigators
it was an arm hair.
Under a comparison microscope, the hair from the jeep
was compared to an arm hair from the victim, Kenneth Cains.
PAUL DAUBE: You would look for, first of all, the size
and the shape of the hair, the color and the shading.
You'd look for pigmentation granules and the size of those
and the distribution of those, and any other physical
characteristics that would appear on the hair.
Forensic analysts concluded that the single human hair found
lodged in the hinge of the passenger side mirror
was microscopically consistent with Kenneth Cains' hair.
After all this time, it was still there.
ED MARSICO: I firmly believe Tom Druce washed that car the night
of the incident or shortly thereafter.
The car was then traded in, resold,
I'm sure had been washed many times in the interim
before we recovered it, and to recover that type of evidence,
linking someone to a crime, is really amazing.
NARRATOR: Seven months after the accident,
Thomas Druce was charged with homicide
by vehicle in the hit and run death of Kenneth Cains.
He was also charged with insurance fraud,
leaving the scene of an accident,
and tampering with evidence.
ED MARSICO: Druce did try and cover up the accident.
From the minute the accident occurred,
he took deceptive step after deceptive step
to throw investigators off the scent of him being
involved in this particular crash.
CHARLES THOMPSON: He was never admitting
that he had hit Mr. Cains.
He admitted that he had an accident,
and he admitted some uncertainty as to what he may have hit.
He claimed that he thought he had hit a sign,
but, obviously, he never stuck around to report the accident
and find out.
NARRATOR: But the evidence told another story.
By his own admission, Tom Druce was drinking with some staff
members on the night of the fatal accident.
No one knows whether he was intoxicated.
Kenneth Cains had also been drinking that night
and was walking along Cameron Street,
presumably on his way home.
The witness said Druce applied his brakes, but kept going.
Prosecutors believe Druce knew immediately
he had hit someone or something.
The broken windshield alone indicated this.
Druce said he drove to his office
a few blocks away, possibly to survey the damage.
Why the security cameras in the parking lot
malfunctioned that night is still a mystery.
The next day prosecutors think Druce continued the cover up
by washing the jeep, then taking it in for repairs.
He filed an inaccurate insurance claim,
when he lied about where the accident occurred.
LOUIS CAINS: He was just worried about himself.
He was worried about his career.
He's concerned about his career.
He's concerned about himself.
I don't think he would have cared who it would have been,
had it been a poor white person, a poor Hispanic,
whoever it was.
He was concerned about himself.
ED MARSICO: If Druce had just stopped
at the scene of the accident, I wouldn't be sitting here today
talking about the Tom Druce case.
He would have not been charged with hit and run.
He would not have tampered with the vehicle,
tampering with evidence, and he would not
have lied or committed insurance fraud.
NARRATOR: Six months later, after the jeep had been
repaired, washed, waxed, vacuumed, and sold
to a new owner, there was still a substantial amount
of evidence remaining on the vehicle, which
linked it to Kenneth Cain's death.
Glass from the windshield matched
the glass in Cains' elbow and arm hair,
consistent with Kenneth Cains', was
in the passenger side mirror.
Fibers consistent with the victim's jeans,
were found in the jeep's wheel well,
and paint, like that from Tom Druce's jeep,
was found on Kenneth Cains' body.
WILLIAM WENNER: But I can only imagine
that he had to be devastated beyond belief
to know that we recovered that vehicle
and we're going to obviously process that forensically.
LOUIS CAINS: When they found the automobile,
I thought, yes, they would find evidence.
I didn't think that he could wash all of that away.
JOHN MICEK: It really sort of is a Greek You know,
you have the young hero, who's close to having
all of his dreams realized.
You can torture the metaphor even more
and say he got a little bit too close to the sun
and fell very far, very fast.
NARRATOR: In September of 2000, avoiding a public trial,
Thomas Druce accepted a plea bargain.
He pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, evidence
tampering, and insurance fraud.
He served two years in prison, paid a civil fine
to Kenneth Cains' family in the amount of $100,000,
and resigned his position as state representative.
CLIFFORD KARLSEN: Sometimes it astonishes me
what you can come up with, with the smallest things.
It just goes to show you that every little piece that you
collect has a very important role in your investigation.