Semi-trailer ‘black box’ technology aids in crash investigation

Camden police continue to investigate a multi-vehicle crash that killed a pregnant woman, her husband and one of their children.

Melissa Hudson was 16 weeks pregnant, her autopsy confirmed Thursday.

The family’s car was T-boned by semi-trailer driver Brian Murphy after Murphy reportedly ran a red light, investigators said.

They are now looking through the semi-trailer’s “black box” in hopes of revealing what happened moments before the deadly crash.

The black box is called an engine control module, or ECM — it’s a computer that shows a recorded history of everything that happens to the engine and rest of vehicle.

Tom Milby, vice president of safety at Home Run Inc. trucking company in Xenia, told News Center 7’s John Bedell Thursday that a black box is part of the engine of a truck.

“You can see this — there's a lot of mass in front of it but this box back here is the ECM — the black box that we're talking about,” Milby said.

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Milby said it’s his job to make sure his truck drivers are driving safe.

"We bring our trucks in every service we get on the black box, we check the engine, see what it's doing. If the drivers went over the speed limit,” Milby said. "We look for driver's habits out of that black box."

Camden police say they have the black box from Brian Murphy’s semi-trailer. Murphy is still hospitalized.

Officers say Murphy was speeding when he ran the red light.

Police say a black box can hold crucial evidence.

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"All law enforcement officers will gather that box in a major fatality or a major accident and they will hook that box up to a computer and it'll tell what was going on at the time of this accident: how fast the truck was going? Did the truck put the brakes on? It'll tell anything that was going on in that truck,” Milby said.