Date: September 11, 2015


SANTA ANA, Calif. – Investigator Wes Vandiver of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) was recognized by the California District Attorney Investigators’ Association (CDAIA) for his commitment and exceptional performance as an investigator. Vandiver received the prestigious “Investigator of the Year” award last night, Sept. 10, 2015, at the CDAIA Annual Training Conference held at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Tahoe.

The “Joe McClure Investigator of the Year Award”, first presented in 1987, was established to recognize the accomplishment of a district attorney investigator as voted upon by members of the CDAIA. The CDAIA selected Vandiver as an ideal candidate for the “Investigator of the Year” award due to his outstanding work in promoting and exemplifying CDAIA standards of practice.

Vandiver spent 17 years working with the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The last eight of those years were spent working with the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) whose objective is to provide CHP with the ability to conduct comprehensive investigations and analyses of major traffic collisions throughout the state. Vandiver began working with the OCDA in 2006 as an investigator with the Vehicular Homicide Unit. Since then, he has worked with the OCDA, as well as with other district attorney’s offices and law enforcement agencies on over 400 vehicular homicide cases, including 28 vehicular murders.

Recently, Vandiver has done extensive work concerning event data recorders that have been installed in many modern automobiles. Vandiver has been consulted regarding the scientific research and testing of black box data. This data is essential in analyzing the actions of drivers before, during, and after a crash. Vandiver is considered an expert in this field, and has done extensive research and analysis of the event data recorder devices including publishing several peer reviewed papers and validating data collected by these devices.  His research has been published in technical papers by the Society of Automotive Engineers, in Collision-The International Compendium for Crash Research, and the California District Attorneys Association Prosecutor’s Brief.  As a result of his work, the data from these devices are often used in trial. Vandiver has also been asked to teach or present to various institutions across the country about the work and research that he has conducted regarding collision reconstruction, event data recorders, and vehicle system forensics.

“Being selected for this award while working alongside so many gifted investigators is, for me, the highest professional honor imaginable,” said Vandiver. “This type of recognition is always the result of a team effort and I am fortunate to work with the best and brightest. I am tremendously thankful to my colleagues – the investigators, attorneys, investigative assistants and victim advocates – who work with me daily to pursue justice for our victims. In Orange County, we are able to do what we do because of a management team that is continually supportive of our mission. Again, it’s a team effort and I work with a great team!”

“Mr. Vandiver exemplifies the excellence we have come to expect from our investigators here in Orange County. We at the OCDA strive to be at the forefront of technological advancement and expertise to make sure that we stay one step ahead of criminals,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This well-deserved award is a reflection of the exceptional work that the OCDA completes each and every day. Congratulations Mr. Vandiver.”