One of Hudson's best friends, Eric Champion, was in Atlanta when he heard about the wreck.
"I knew I wanted to get back to be with him and Samantha," he said. "And I was worried, in the back of my mind, that a lot of stress on Sam could cause complications with the baby."
Champion said Hudson wasn't identified immediately at the scene or in the hospital because doctors and paramedics needed to cut his clothing off quickly and run tests on him as soon as possible. Huntsville Hospital assign names to unknown patients by going down the alphabet and giving nicknames that are variations of "John Doe."
Hudson was dubbed "Whiskey Joe."
"The Whiskey Joe thing was hilarious," Champion said. "He's not a heavy drinker or anything, but if there is a party, he's an instigator ... If he could pick his name, he would have picked that one."
Champion met Hudson at Brewer while running track. Hudson once spent a night — 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. — changing the transmission in Champion's truck.
"Then he went home, took a shower and went to work," he said.
"That's the kind of friend he was — is, hopefully."