To Raleigh police, cars can talk

Raleigh police are building a second-degree murder case against a man accused of drunken driving in part by using a small on-board computer in the man's car. If he's like most people, he didn't know it was even there.

Investigators obtained a search warrant that allowed them to extract information from an instrument known as an event data recorder in the 2001 Cadillac Deville that Kenya Teverris Alston, 31, was driving when he struck a Honda in the early hours of March 1. The driver of the Honda, Matthew Kraft, 21, was killed.

The event data recorder is a computer under a vehicle's floorboard. It stores information immediately before and after a crash, such as how fast the vehicle was traveling and whether the driver braked or was using his seat belt, turn signals and headlights. It is similar to the black box found on aircraft.

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