Data From Car In Mo. River Inconclusive

Date 2014/2/13 4:37:22 | Topic: News

(semissourian.com) - Investigators recovered data from the black box in a Pontiac Bonneville that was pulled from the Mississippi River last month, but the information was inconclusive, a police spokesman said this week.
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On Jan. 17, authorities found the body of Autumn D. Vinson, 62, of Jackson inside the car, which was submerged in five to six feet of water near the Red Star boat access area.

Shortly after 10 a.m. that day, a passer-by noticed the antenna and roof of the vehicle in the water and called police.

About five hours later, rescue crews finally recovered the car from the river.

An autopsy confirmed Vinson drowned, but authorities still do not know exactly how the car ended up the river, Hickey said Tuesday.

Investigators removed the car's black box and placed it in an airtight container of rice for several days, "trying to suck all the moisture out of it like you would a phone or something like that," he said.

The computer device -- which records information about the vehicle's movements, such as acceleration and deceleration, much like the black box on an airplane -- dried out, but authorities didn't learn much from the data it yielded, Hickey said.

"They showed some things, but nothing that would assist in the investigation," such as sudden acceleration or abrupt deceleration, he said.

Based on information from passers-by, police believe the car went into the water sometime after 7 a.m. Jan. 17, Hickey said.

The black box does not include a time stamp with the information it collects, he said.

Being submerged could have affected the device's reliability, Hickey said.

"Water can play havoc, because those are computer parts," he said.

Authorities still are awaiting toxicology test results, Hickey said.



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