No charges in Wii radio contest

Sacramento County decides not to file criminal charges in the water intoxication death of a mother of three.

by

The Sacramento County District Attorney's office will not be pressing criminal charges against staff of a radio station that organised a competition which resulted in the death of a young woman, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The contest, titled "Hold Your Wee for a Wii," was organised by radio station KDND 107.9 and involved contestants drinking an estimated two gallons of water without urinating. The winner--the person who drank the greatest volume without using the bathroom--would be given a Nintendo Wii as a prize.

Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead in her Rancho Cordova home hours after calling in to her office saying her head hurt "really bad" and heading straight home.

Ten employees of the radio show were fired over the incident, and Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness also opened a criminal investigation into the woman's death after listening to audio tapes of the show.

However, the prosecutor's office has found that the actions of the radio station staff did not reach the level of criminality. In a press release, a spokesperson comments, "There were no observable indications or symptoms that Jennifer Strange was experiencing a serious medical emergency which would have required station employees to seek or administer medical aid to her."

Civil attorney Roger Dreyer, the lawyer hired to represent the family of Ms. Strange, said that he would still be seeking damages in a wrongful death suit from the radio station.

Discussion

185 comments
1SleepyGit
1SleepyGit

chakan2 No, but when you run me it over because you are driving like an idiot it will still affect me. HA That'll teach you not to drive 55 in the fast lane. And you'll be happy to know that if I do run over you, my insurance is going to set you up for life (or your kids). ____________________________________________________ That will indeed teach me not to drive at 55 mph in the fast lane, especially since I don't even have a driver's license! Philosophically against cars me.

capthunt
capthunt

lol still seeking damages. roflcoptor. it was her fualt she tried drinking TWO GALLONS OF WATER. cmon... that amount is obviously not good for you.

chakan2
chakan2

No, but when you run me it over because you are driving like an idiot it will still affect me.

HA

That'll teach you not to drive 55 in the fast lane. And you'll be happy to know that if I do run over you, my insurance is going to set you up for life (or your kids).

1SleepyGit
1SleepyGit

'Will it raise your rates, possibly. But you can negate all those costs a few ways. First off, buy a “safer” car, and keep a clean driving record. Then my horrid driving record won’t affect you.' No, but when you run me it over because you are driving like an idiot it will still affect me.

chakan2
chakan2

Since you were obviously "stupid" for doing something bad for you, should I have to pay for you to get your necessary medical treatment (either through my taxes or through my insurance company; if you cost the insurance company more than they are making off you, they are going to raise the prices for everyone).

That was a well thought out and cohesive argument. Well said.

However, I disagree. There

usyagi_2004
usyagi_2004

this is wrong. Children were left motherless because of idiots and they should charge the station for something because they had not properly prepared for the contest and ignored the warnings of the callers

PreacherOfDune
PreacherOfDune

I consider myself a smart person, but I've still done a lot of stupid things before. I've drinken a lot of alcohol, I used to speed at very fast speeds, and I managed to not get hurt (got into a car accident and damaged my car an additional two times). Could I have died at one of those times? Yes. Does that mean I deserved to die? I won't answer that question, I learned my lesson and I don't do it anymore. This woman will not get the chance to learn her lesson. The radio station knows that they are somewhat responsible for this young woman's death, otherwise they wouldn't have fired 10 employees that didn't do anything wrong. How many of you people eat fast food, how many smoke cigarrettes or live in a metropolis. All of those things are going to shorten your life, if not from stress from air polution, elevated cholesterol and what not. Why don't you just let me save money and not use the Health Insurances money, and let's stop the government from helping you when you go in with a heart attack or a stroke, cause after all, you were stupid to think that eating hamburgers wouldn't affect your health. Edit: I wanted to add - I don't think that the DJ's should be going to prison, but I do think that they should pay a fine and issue a public apology (they probably already have issued an apology). I don't think that the money should be an obscene amount, but enough to help the kids with a little of their college expenses perhaps (put it into some sort of trust). "The DJs had made comments joking about people dying from water intoxication during the show, according to the Sacramento Bee. There was even a discussion about a "poor kid in college"--presumably Matthew Carrington, who also died from water intoxication after a fraternity hazing ritual.." Two hours into the contest, a female caller, who identified herself as Eva, phoned in to warn the radio station that drinking too much water can kill. She said, "Those people that are drinking all that water can get sick and possibly die from water intoxication." One DJ replied, "We are aware of that," "They signed releases, so we're not responsible. It's OK."" - Excerpts from another gamespot article. Sounds to me like she wasn't the only stupid person around at the time... Let me ask you who think she got what she deserved. (making up the following physiology and treatments) Let's imagine that she had lived, and that it had just permanently damaged both of her kidney's. She went to the hospital and they told her she had 2 to 3 months to live if she couldn't get a kidney transplant. The lady then did everything she could to say come up with a total of 250 thousand dollars, but could only get 150 thousand. She would die if she couldn't get that other 100 thousand dollars... Should the radio station help out? Now lets relate that to something more comparable to you. Like you were driving 75 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone. Your tire blows out and you get into a very bad accident. In order to save your life they are going to have to perform a few surgical operations, which add up to 100 thousand dollars. Should us tax payers pay for a "stupid" person to receive this potentially life saving procedure? After all you were being stupid, endangering now only your own life, but everybody else on the road... Perhaps it would be better if I got a bigger tax return and you just died. Sounds like a cruel and heartless arguement... doesn't it. The fact is people know smoking, driving faster than the speed limit, drinking alcohol, doing recreational drugs, eating red meat regularly, eating foods high in fat and even not reading/learning enough (increases your chances of mental illness later on in life0 are bad for you. Since you were obviously "stupid" for doing something bad for you, should I have to pay for you to get your necessary medical treatment (either through my taxes or through my insurance company; if you cost the insurance company more than they are making off you, they are going to raise the prices for everyone).

ElHypno
ElHypno

I think the family should sue the station and money should be givin to help the family. I dont really think that the people who held the contest should be criminally liable. It was an honest error in judgement on both parties. For the sake of the kids I do however think they should be compensated financially. Its sad and I feel bad about the situation but nobody should be headed to prision over this.

1SleepyGit
1SleepyGit

@chakan2 Were the two who killed themselves with alcohol told by the university that it was safe to drink that much alcohol? No I bet they weren't. Are most people aware of the dangers of too much alcohol? Yes they are. Are most people aware of the dangers of drinking water? I think you will find that they are not, and most people will assume that a organisation running an event will have looked into the dangers of their proposed contests. In fact the radio djs were phoned up by people trying to warn them about the dangers of what they were doing, and instead of acting on it they made it into a joke and failed to do anything about it, even when they started tor realise that maybe they were doing something stupid, that is called gross negligence. You talk of the Darwin Awards like its all a joke, people's lives are not a joke and treating them the way you do shows what is wrong with people in our countries. I am sure we have all done stupid things in our lives, yet we are all entitled to some human dignity, have some respect. And before you start talking some BS about "people need to deserve the right to have respect" you know that is not true, as I am sure you are expected to be treated with some level of respect, as while I am not religious I do remember the saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone", for judging others just gives others the excuse to judge us. Good night.

FilthyYamBag
FilthyYamBag

wow i actually read all of what chakan2 had to say, and he basically said what i would have, Sir i applaud you and am sorry your last two years of college were less fun

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Well, I would say it wasn't their fault, however a lady called in to warn them that you can die from water poisoning if you don't pee... and well, she was right, and it happened, and they laughed it off on the air... It was a dumb competition, and dangerous by ignorance.

chakan2
chakan2

Rewarded? What is wrong with you? This woman died! Frankly, good. This will go down in the Darwin awards. The radio station joke was a good one. It takes one stupid person (i.e. the mom) to ruin a good time for everyone. The problem with this is they're going to file a multi-million dollar law suit against the radio station, and they're going to walk away with mad cash...all due to someone not know that not taking a leak is a bad thing. As an adult, with children, you should know this lesson. What this is going to do is make radio stations be more conservative about there promotions. Here's my major complaint about this whole deal. In college, my freshman and sophomore years were fantastic. Parties all the time, lots of people hanging out at house parties and generally having a good time. Most everyone was responsible and for the most time a good time was had. The start of my Junior year, two kids go out, get totally wasted and end up dieing of alcohol poisoning. What happens, the university cracks down on every party from then out for the rest of my college career. Now how does that story apply here...it takes one dumb ass to ruin everyone eles's fun. Why should you care? Because stupid **** like this happens surrounding Video Games. All the sudden the politicians get interested because it's a decent story and they can get votes. What that turns into is BS legislation governing radio contests and new regulations on what promotions advertising companies can do. Sound far fetched? I think not, see all the articles about the Hot Coffee scandal, and all the articles about kids killing kids and how they learned that from video games. Let's just all come together and realize that asking people to do literally death-defying things for kicks Death-defying my ***...whatever. You should know that not taking a piss is not good for your body. If she were like 10 I would feel sorry and take back my comment. But she's not. Learning to pee should be a lesson learned by the time you have kids.

snakenamedjoe
snakenamedjoe

"No, it's not. Stupid people should not get rewarded for doing something stupid. They're going to mop up in the Civil Suit which is sad." Rewarded? What is wrong with you? This woman died! There is no way you could possibly reward her. If you were killed, let's say in a drunk driving accident, and your insurance company pays for your funeral, do you think you're being rewarded for driving drunk? You're dead! You don't care. It might be nice to do something for her family who under no circumstances did anything wrong here. You would not be rewarding them either. The kids lost their mother, nothing you give them could possibly make this a rewarding experience. You should learn to think of others a little more instead of being such a self righteous...well, I'll just stop before I get modded and let you figure out for yourself what kind of person you are.

DanceParty4
DanceParty4

@Sparticus247 Totally agree, dude. I hate it when we gamers and tech people get all weird and judgmental and start talking about not helping people because they're "stupid." We play games all the time. The last thing we have the right to do is judge others. This was a tragedy, a mom trying to do a nice thing for her kids, not an example of stupidity. Let's just all come together and realize that asking people to do literally death-defying things for kicks on a radio show is stupid and in this case, absolutely wrong.

chakan2
chakan2

Well, the station should still do something for the family, and not just go on like nothing happened, even if they aren't forced to. It's the right thing to do. No, it's not. Stupid people should not get rewarded for doing something stupid. They're going to mop up in the Civil Suit which is sad.

abw1977
abw1977

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

majestikk
majestikk

Criminal charges are one thing, and Civil charges are another. The family would be looking to benefit from a settlement, or winning a "wrongful death" suit. Whatever the situation, it's still sad that these kids no longer have a mother.

Sparticus247
Sparticus247

Well, the station should still do something for the family, and not just go on like nothing happened, even if they aren't forced to. It's the right thing to do.

zsc4
zsc4

:lol: Interesting, ...Wii :P

GKBeetle
GKBeetle

Some people on here are wondering why other people on here are so forgiving of the radio station. I know the reason. People are sick of frivolous lawsuits. Nobody in this world takes responsibility for their own actions anymore these days. There are too many lawsuits where people being stupid caused them to get hurt or killed. Sometimes, bad stuff just happens and nobody is to blame. I hate hearing how every time something bad happens to somebody, the first thing people do is try to figure out who to sue.

theKSMM
theKSMM

Criminal or not, that radio station should be paying to send those three children to college. Their mother died for the puerile entertainment of the radio station's fans, and their consciences should make them want to do something to help.

VyseN1
VyseN1

Also, like kamuiXshirou said she did inquire with the station. When she started feeling wrong she fulfilled her personal responsibility and told them something was wrong, they just ignored her. That is criminal negligence.

Jon-The-God
Jon-The-God

So...... did she get the free console?

VyseN1
VyseN1

So, according to a lot of the logic being argued by people here, here is an analogy. If someone goes on a roller coaster, then due to improper maintenace something goes wrong and people die. According to a lot of you it's, well it's their own fault for taking the risk, at isn't the amusement park's fault, it isn't their job to find out if it is dangerous.

VyseN1
VyseN1

For goodness sake, the radio station is guilty of criminal negligence. They hosted the contest, it is their responsibility to find out if the very nature of the contest is dangerous. She did exactly what the station told her to do, and the station ignored warnings from callers telling them it was life threatening. 99% of us had no idea drinking too much water was bad for you, so stop with your stupid car crash analogies. If she did something outside the boundaries set by the contest, then it would be her fault. Why do you fascists think it's her fault? You keep on saying personal responsibility, but the station has responsibility too. So the weight of a person's actions weigh more than a companies? The radio hosted the contest, so it is their responsibility to find out if the VERY NATURE of the contest is dangerous. It was, so it is the station's fault.

Brother_Boney
Brother_Boney

I really feel bad for Nintendo, the radio station, the mother and her family. Who would think drinking water could kill you? Water intoxication is not very well known. I'm kind of forced to think that the radio station did wrong here but as it has been said here, people are responsible for their actions.

osxgp
osxgp

It's a shame that someone died because of this, but it is NOT the fault of the radio station. People need to take responsibility for their choices and actions. You can't blame someone because YOU didn't find out for yourself the risk of whatever YOU chose to do regardless of the circumstance. It's not Budweiser's fault because people become alcoholics or Marlboro's fault people get lung cancer. Common sense people. If we lack it, we might as well have a Communist society.

Mr_Fan
Mr_Fan

Wow this is weird stuff considering I was listening to this stuff as it was happening. I live in Sac and 107.9 has always had whacky contests, but not one ever this tragic, unfortunately.

Alucard7321
Alucard7321

The answer is all in the surname of the deceased.

mikethemonkey
mikethemonkey

netlatnu... If the contest had someone get in a car and drive somewhere to win the Wii and they were involved in a head on collision. A collision that resulted in a death, would the radio station be liable for that? Check your head netlatnu....

marioman50
marioman50

stupid contest, stupid winner, stupid charges, it's as simple as that. also, why the ten employees were fired is beyond me, who says the "head hurting" had anything to do with the stupid contest? whoever made the charges was stupid if she signed a consent form. yeah, maybe the radio station could have done something nice for her family, considering that the contest winner just died, but there were no reasons for suing.

chargr67
chargr67

this is my local radio station O.O

joeyacevedo
joeyacevedo

You know we keep hearing about this, but I'm more concerned with what happened to her children, this radio station knew the risks and she signed a concent form, its sad that she died, and I do think the radio station should be held responsible, but nobody was intentionally murdered.

netlatnu
netlatnu

mikethemonkey "The radio station wanted people to drink water till' they had to pee. Not tll' they die?" Negligence doesn't require they wanted people to die. What's relevant is not whether they wanted to kill her, but that they knew it could lead to death and allowed it to happen anyway. Also, I'm not quite sure why people are so forgiving of the radio station. They did something wrong, and they should be held liable for the role they played in Strange's death. I agree people should be responsible for their actions, but Jennifer Strange was not the only one who did irresponsible things in this case. To place the ALL of the blame on Strange would be unjust, and this is why the radio station should have to pay something.

ADANIEL
ADANIEL

I found this story very sad, and it is a terrible loss for the family to lose their mother when she was trying to win something for her family. But did you guys even read the article. "There were no observable indications or symptoms that Jennifer Strange was experiencing a serious medical emergency which would have required station employees to seek or administer medical aid to her." It's a terrible fact that the lady died, but people have to be responsible for their own actions. Tycho Brahe supposedly died because he didn't go to the little boys room - I bet he never thought it would kill him. If you are going to consciously overrule the demands of your body - Sh.t happens. Too much of anything will kill you! Are you going to outlaw "Pie Eating competitions" because they can lead to death. Or does somebody need to die first...then it becomes a criminal act to hold one? Sure these people ran the competition - but i bet they never, in their wildest dreams, thought this would happen. Mind you... its nice that your all paying the bill for the deceased family's claim on the radio station. I'm sure the radio station has insurance that will cover the claim. Must push up the insurance premiums..... all these claims. You all pay insurance don't you, in the event of claims like these. So the only winner in this sad sad affair is the lawyers. Now that is sad!

mikethemonkey
mikethemonkey

There was nothing criminal here? No crime was committed... netlatnu Wrote below "Hopefully the family will succeed in their civil suit." I hope NOT! She should have educated herself about the risks she was taking. Personal reasonability...The radio station wanted people to drink water till' they had to pee. Not tll' they die? Give me a break? The lady died..Very sad. But to cost ten people there jobs and millions of dollars in lawsuits is just plain stupid! Personal reasonability--- *I'll drink to that*

netlatnu
netlatnu

Hopefully the family will succeed in their civil suit. Regardless of what people here have said, the radio station was still negligent in allowing this contest to occur and negligent to not have proper procedures in place (such as medical staff) in case of problems. Yes, the mother may have been negligent by participating. If that's the case, that can be taken into account in limiting how much money the family gets, but that should not be a complete bar for recovery. As for her signing a waiver form; a waiver form does not release the radio station from cases where it was grossly negligent, which they probably were here, since they were well aware that this contest could lead to death.

Imconfused2007
Imconfused2007

I guess its ok to kill, as long as you make it more assisted suicide than murder, or make it into a contest.

fastrozombies
fastrozombies

they should be atleast charged with neglegant homicide

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

This is still manslaughter or is it? I didn't realize you could kill people and make it legal?

videogamr49
videogamr49

Stupid that they aren't charged for criminal acts; however, good thing the lawyer of the family is still going after the guys.

hellfire9988
hellfire9988

Have you ever heard of OVERHYDRATION? I feel very sorry for this woman, but please use your head.

johnnybowman
johnnybowman

THE BOTTOM LINE You have to look at it from both perspectives. She should have been taken care of and the radio should have had a medical staff in the radio station. Shows like Fear Factor know that there stunts or events can be dangerous. They take the proper precautions to make sure no body gets hurt. This should have been the case in the wii contest.

chineolee
chineolee

Seems like the KDND guys got off lightly from a legal perspective, but they'll always have to live with the realisation that they're stupidity resulted in the death of a young mother.