No information available from tractor-trailer's black box

NORFOLK, VA. (AP) - Investigators could not retrieve any data from a waterlogged black box pulled from the water weeks after a tractor-trailer plunged over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday that water damage to the black box made it impossible to recover any information. The box was not recovered until two weeks after the February 9 accident, which killed 47-year-old Joseph Chen of Greenville, North Carolina.

Chen was driving in heavy winds and seen weaving through traffic before going off the left side of the bridge.

Authorities said Chen was first seen standing on the floating truck. But a Navy helicopter later found him in the water and unresponsive before he could be recovered.

The medical examiner ruled his death an accident.


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Authorities say a tractor-trailer driver who initially survived after plunging off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel last week succumbed to hypothermia and drowned.

Donna Price is district administrator for Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She notes that water in the bay was about 45 degrees when Joseph Chen went off the bridge Thursday while driving in high winds.

Authorities said the 47-year-old man from Greenville, North Carolina, was seen standing on the floating truck for some time. But when a Navy helicopter rescued him, he was in the water and unresponsive. He died on the way to the hospital.

Authorities said driver error likely caused the accident. According to bridge official Thomas Anderson, Chen was seen weaving his truck through traffic before it drove off the span's left side.

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Friends and family of 47-year-old Joseph Chen came together on Saturday to raise money for Chen's family to help with the unexpected funeral expenses.

Chen was killed on Thursday when his tractor trailer went over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia. Police have since said the cause of the accident was driver error.

Chen was president of the Turn-N-Burn Motorcycle Club in Greenville.

At Mr. Tire Saturday, friends sold chicken and fish plates with proceeds going towards Chen's funeral.

One organizer, Sophia Thigpen, said "He was a great man. Everywhere he went, he left a little piece of him."

His employer, stepson and others WITN has spoken with have only said kind things of Chen in the last two days.

"If he was here, he would've done anything for you. If he was here right now...he would've took his rent money and his wife, BJ, would've been like 'what are you doing? We got this, we got that.' And he used to tell her, don't worry about it baby. It's for a good cause, it's for the community," said Jaheen Harris.

"He was bubbly, you never saw one without the other. It was always that bright smile, you always caught him riding, any time he saw you he was like hey, throw the hands up. Just love," said Diamond Diaz.

Diaz also says this serves as a tragic reminder of how careful we all need to be while on the road.

"You never know. This man left home thinking he was coming home from work and that didn't happen. So right now our community has had a tragedy. Just be aware of what your surroundings are on these roads every day," she said.

There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help the family.


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Police say that a tractor-trailer driver had just finished passing another truck when for some reason he went off the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on Thursday.

47-year-old Joseph Chen of Greenville died on the way to the hospital after being rescued.

CBBT Police say that according to their preliminary investigation, Chen had just passed another tractor-trailer and as he re-entered the lane, he somehow drove over a curb and went airborne. Investigators hope that the truck's black box will provide more information if it can be recovered.
Chen was hauling seafood for Evans Transport which is based out of Washington in Beaufort County.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses. A link is provided on the right side of this story.

Relatives of Chen say there will be a fundraiser at Mr. Tire in Greenville at 11 a.m. this Saturday, February 11.


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New details are coming in about a man from the east killed after his tractor trailer went over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The driver has been identified as Joseph Chen, 47, of Greenville, who worked for Evans Transport out of Washington, in Beaufort County.

A relative of Chen's in Greenville says he is a father and husband. He is also the founder and president of Turn-N-Burn Motorcycle Club.

His wife, Billie Jo Chen, tells The Virginian-Pilot she would have celebrated her 10-year anniversary with him in April. She says he had two children from a previous marriage.

Josh Moore, Chen's stepson says, "Joe was a very outgoing guy, he always had a smile on his face and we always said that he never met a stranger and everyone he met was instantly a friend and he just loved on people with open arms."

Chen's boss, Armistead Perry, Evan's Transport LLC President said,
"Joe was not just an employee, he was a friend, he was a husband and a son and a father and he was loved by many and he was the type of guy that everybody he met automatically liked him from the get go."

A Navy helicopter rescued Chen within an hour of the incident.

A Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel spokesman says Chen died when he was on the way to the hospital. Officials said Chen was standing on top of the truck before he was rescued.

He was reportedly hauling a load of seafood for Evans Transport.

Bridge officials issued level 2 wind restrictions with winds exceeding 47 miles per hour. There was a level 1 restriction at the time of the accident.

The exact cause of the accident is unknown at this time.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses. A link is provided on the right side of this story.

Relatives of Chen say there will be a fundraiser at Mr. Tire in Greenville at 11 a.m. this Saturday, February 11.


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A tractor trailer driver from Greenville is dead following a wreck that sent his 18-wheeler off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

That's according to a report from our NBC affiliate WAVY in Virginia.

Authorities identified the driver as 47-year-old Joseph Chen, of Greenville. Chen was reportedly transporting seafood for Evans Transport which is based out of Washington in Beaufort County.

A Navy helicopter rescued Chen within an hour of the incident.

CBBT spokesman Tom Anderson confirmed the driver died when he was on the way to the hospital. Officials said the driver was standing on top of the truck before he was rescued.

Bridge officials issued level 2 wind restrictions Thursday, with winds exceeding 47 miles per hour. There was a level 1 restriction at the time of the accident.