Lindsay Lohan seems to be on a Porsche crashing hiatus, so it's time to pick on another Hollywood starlet. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and this time, someone got killed.
Melrose Place star Amy Locane-Bovenizer faces vehicular manslaughter charges for a DUI case that killed one and left another injured. What's different from other cases is that for the first time, a car's black box has been admitted as evidence.
The black box, known as an event data recorder, or EDR, performs essentially the same function as an aircraft's, storing the car's parameters at the time of an accident. By combing through its data with a computer, you can find out how fast the car was going, how much body roll it exhibited, and which safety systems were or weren't functioning when the crash happened. Most newer cars have them, including Locane's Chevrolet Tahoe.
The Tahoe's EDR showed that Locane was driving 53 mph — 18 mph over the posted speed limit — when she plowed into a Mercury Milan pulling into a driveway on a rural New Jersey road. Its driver was injured, but the passenger didn't walk away from the wreck.
Police records show that Locane had a 0.268 blood alcohol level at the time of the crash. That's way over New Jersey's 0.08 limit, so that won't help her case much. The fact that she had also rear ended a minivan just before the fatal crash is poisonous icing on an already bitter cake.
There are laws that protect the privacy of an individual's black box data, but if that individual sues the manufacturer or law enforcement issues a subpoena, then that pile of ones and zeros is theirs for the taking.
Photo credit: Associated Press