State police search truck in fatal crash

WOODSTOCK – Authorities have executed a search warrant on a 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck involved in a rear-end collision that took the life of a 4-year-old girl Friday afternoon.

The search warrant identifies a device connected to the truck’s deployed air bag as the sole item seized from the truck. The driver of the truck, Greg Lee Peters, 41, of Madison Heights, has been charged with reckless driving and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Authorities say Peters was driving southbound on Interstate 81 three miles north of Woodstock at 3:38 p.m. when traffic ahead of him slowed, and he rear-ended a 2009 Honda Accord with three people inside.

One of those passengers, Olivia Gordon, 4, of Denton, Pennsylvania, died at the scene as a result of injuries she suffered in the crash. She was riding in a child’s seat in the rear of the car at the time of the crash. The impact pushed the Honda into a 2008 Subaru station wagon in front of it.

The driver of the Honda, Andrew Gordon, 45, and his wife, Leanne Gordon, 35, the parents of Olivia, were also injured. Andrew Gordon was flown to Winchester Medical Center and Leanne Gordon was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital.

The search warrant states that the state police want to examine data stored in a device called the airbag control module. The module, which is found in most or all late model vehicles, stores data on vehicle speed; engine RPM; cruise control; brake switch status; throttle position; seat belt switch circuit status; accelerator pedal percentage and crash pulse data for lateral and longitudinal velocity change.

John Townsend, manager of public and government affairs for AAA in the mid-Atlantic region, said few drivers are aware of data-gathering devices in newer vehicles that can be turned against them in court cases. The data contained on the devices can help authorities gather evidence such as the speed of the vehicle at the time an airbag deploys.

Townsend said law enforcement officials can obtain the data either by the permission of the vehicle owner or through a court order like that given for search warrants.

“If you get a car with all the bells and whistles and monitors and everything, then you will be monitored, too,” Townsend said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com.

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