Wii-contest radio station fires 10 staff

KDND 107.9's <i>Morning Rave</i> off air indefinitely after the death of a woman in a water-drinking competition.

A California radio station has fired 10 employees, including five on-air personalities, after Jennifer Strange, a mother of three, died following her participation in a "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" competition, reports the Sacramento Bee. The 28-year-old died of water intoxication, having consumed an estimated two gallons of water in an attempt to win a Nintendo console for her children. The winner of the contest was to be the person who managed to drink the most water without going to the bathroom.

Strange called into her office after the show and told a coworker that she had a "really bad" headache and would be going straight home. She was found dead in her Rancho Cordova home on Friday afternoon by her mother, who had gone to check on her after being contacted by the concerned coworker.

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. One person dismissed the link by saying, "Yeah, well, he was doing other things." During the show, one DJ also admitted, "Maybe we should have researched this."

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," while another added, "They signed releases, so we're not responsible. It's OK."

Twenty contestants took part in the competition, including Strange, who was the runner-up. Other participants said that they became concerned when one woman lay on the ground, with her teeth chattering, and looking pale. At one point Strange was lying on the ground but told staff that she "could probably drink more" if someone could pick her up.

Despite the sackings, the Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said that there would not be a criminal investigation. He said, "It's not as if she was somehow in their custody and they had a role to care for her. Rather, it was an invitation to a contest that was clearly ill-advised. She was exercising her free will."

A notice on the radio station's Web site stated that an investigation was underway. It reads, "First and foremost, our thoughts and sympathies go out to Jennifer's family and loved ones. I also want to assure you that the circumstances regarding this matter are being examined as thoroughly as possible. We are doing everything we can to deal with this difficult situation in a manner that is both respectful and responsible."

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Discussion

300 comments
speedracer216
speedracer216

yes. this was stupid of everyone involved. but i'm guessing that the people drinking didn't hear the callers giving warnings. why don't people listen? if someone told me something i was doing could kill, i think i'd stop until i knew more. it's common sense. i don't think they're criminally responsible, but they are terrible people for making those kind of jokes and ignoring explicit warnings coming from people during the competition. it's sick.

Ninja99
Ninja99

mjc0961 and sdcazares1980 are absolutely correct. Those employees need to be prosecuted.

rabbittruns
rabbittruns

sorry, but they are not responsible in this instance, atleast criminally. now a civil case will happen, and regardless of their standing, i would bet they will settle to avoid more negative press...

Whiteknight117
Whiteknight117

Yeah osxgp they sign waivers for that stuff saying they know the danger and will not sue them.

osxgp
osxgp

No one held a gun to her head. People due stupid things on TV all the time for money that involve risks. Fear Factor, Jackass, Survivor, etc. are a few things people watch that allow people to take risks. As much as I love the UFC, someone will eventually die due to the brutallity. I feel bad for her family, but no one made her do it. Its a horrible thing, but no one made her do it.

H8s2spooge
H8s2spooge

What if the waiver said "you can die in this contest and you take full responsibility for your own actions... don't do it... just spend the fu*king 250 and buy one at gamestop. Good grief what is wrong with you anyway? Shouldn't you be at work right now?" Stranger things have happened...

frazzle00
frazzle00

Ah, the dangers of coning. Now if only the skull wasn't a rigid container ......

sdcazares1980
sdcazares1980

Even with the waivers signed, the DJs admitted that they should've researched this. This tells me one thing: the contest did not get any legal or managerial oversight, therefore the radio station and the DJs are responsible for her death. Without proper notarization, these type of waivers are illegal.

Blazer88
Blazer88

The Sacramento County Sheriff needs to learn a little more about law. The station ran an even and they are responsible for the outcome. This one of those times I am all for a lawsuit that hopefully runs this company into the ground. Sinc ethe DJ's knew it was dangerous than they clearly should be in jail.

darth-revan
darth-revan

it should be everyone at the station who is liable, its not like they didnt get approved by thier superiors to do it...

Destroyeron13
Destroyeron13

Those DJs are truly idiots. Don't they have to get clearance to pull a stunt like that? There should be a criminal investigation. By signing up for a contest you wouldn't think that the stunt they're having you do could kill you.

Ultragunner9999
Ultragunner9999

Yeah, its sad. Those who are responsible deserve worse. Saying they are not responsible is like saying cigarette companies are not responsible for people who develop cancer and such from smoking their product or secondhand smoke. I am angry because I hate stupid people and their bad Ideas that end tragically. They need permits for this DAMN.

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

I hate this story, it makes me so sad. :-(

StarFoxCOM
StarFoxCOM

Well This was a mix of stupidness, sadness, and being a mean spirted peroson. I think it is stupid that she held it in for that long and ended up dieing. But more importantly i think it is stupid that They would hold a contest like that and whoever came up with the idea should get fired. And when he sends is ressamay to a bussness he wants to work for it should have "I was the stupid dumbass responsiple for 2 peoples deaths because i thought it was impossable to die of water intoxication". Yeah so You get my point. I think if the guy ever gets another job it will be a vary low-paying wal-mart job.

Elyoshi
Elyoshi

I'm not suprised the radio station didn't think of something like that happening, becuase people tend to see water is a pretty much harmless, empty substance. I mean, who would think there would be any harm in a water drinking contest? No medic though? Bad **** move. Even then, you think she would have stopped when she realized she was pushing herself waaaay past her limits. I mean, its a videogame system for god sakes. Sad really, I cant imagine what her kids feel about this.

MrPuzzlez
MrPuzzlez

Almost like drowning... except, you can breathe...

cobrax80
cobrax80

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

tigerous
tigerous

I'm not sure how many of you are aware of this, but waivers and releases do not fully protect companies. They are basically intended to protect companies from liability if someone suffers injuries or death from something the company could not forsee or prevent. However, that's not the case here. From what other news articles stated, the station didn't even warn contestants. So, it's unlikely the release forms will ever hold up in court. Also, I feel sorry for the kids, but I don't think they will be stuck in foster care. The stories indicate other relatives are in the picture including their grandmother and their father/stepfather. I'm not sure if the woman's husband was their father or not. Anyway, I really hope the station is held accountable and that the woman's family sue for wrongful death. Now that their mother is gone, the kids deserve some form of compensation for their loss.

aerisol
aerisol

yea that didnt sound like a good idea in the first place lol. i thought averyone knew u could get lyk all sick frm .. lyk not peeing. lol

sieg6529
sieg6529

Those DJs were pretty ignorant to hold a contest that had a significant risk for hyponatremia. "Maybe we should have researched this". Hmmm, ya think? Why not give everyone the in the contest the same (reasonable) amount of water (relative to bodyweight), and make them hold it for a certain amount of time, like 6 hours?

lucky-coins
lucky-coins

To mhder: I just want to say that anyone can take a line out of a storybook and turn the subject upside down like you do. But understanding the relations between lines is a more professional way to express that you are against my opinion. Sure, some people don't know helium is what makes a balloon float better than air. But see it from a more logical perspective, helium balloons don't cause death, neither do spilling coffee on yourself pose a serious threat. Death factors that people don't know about is quite another issue. Telling people that it is safe, which in reality isn't safe, is like indirectly killing a man by raising the death factor. A media like a radio station, most of all. Which is trusted by it's listeners like they knew every law in physics, shouldn't be telling that to people. Not every GS member is american. I live in Europe and we've seen a lot of stupid cases in the US. But some of these cases has really helped people to become more responsible and safer. Now at leas there are warnings on tobacco products, and from what I've heard even in fastfood chains like McDonalds. Because so many people brought their losses to court, now we have something that can properly inform us of long term effects and dangers of buying products and doing activities that might be unhealthy. Like reporting on a bug in a program if you will, it makes it run smoother, better and safer.

priestkai
priestkai

I feel so sorry for her kids. Imagine having to live with the fact that your mom died trying to win you a game console, it's really mess you up. If nothing else, the radio station were idiots for not having a medic on hand, they should be held responsible for that alone.

BlackMageJawa
BlackMageJawa

So am I the only one who listened to the recording and noticed that the DJs repeatedly stated that the contestants would just throw up and be disqualified before it became dangerous? Whether they were lying or just ignorant, they tried to assure the contestants they were safe. That makes them liable, IMO.

Miracle_Air
Miracle_Air

Let's hope that this isn't the end of this. If there's one thing that needs to be punished, it's a lack of common sense. Though I hope the least someone could do is look into how those kids are doing... I feel bad that they're without a parent now... Probably are gonna end up bouncing from foster home to foster home, provided they don't have other family members. Nonetheless, let's hope this acts as a good lesson teacher for other people with dumbass ideas for a contest. It's fine to overstuff yourself in eating contests but we have the ability to go to the bathroom FOR A REASON. It's not something meant to be fought. =/

dtfann003
dtfann003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Authorities in Sacramento County, Calif., are looking into the death of a woman who had competed in a radio station contest last week. A medical examiner said the woman died of water intoxication. Water intoxication is a condition that causes the organs -- especially the brain -- to swell. Jennifer Strange, 28, had taken part in a contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom. Strange was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home hours after taking part in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii"contest held by Sacramento radio station KDND FM. Strange placed second in the contest. "I feel horrible, you know, because you don't think water's going to kill you. You're having fun at the radio station trying to win a little contest. You don't think it's going to turn deadly," said Lucy Davidson, the contest's winner. The station had promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the winner. The station's owner said staff members were stunned when they learned of the death. It's not yet known how much water Strange consumed. The radio station's Web site did not have any indication of the story Monday morning. Two people who competed in a radio station's water drinking contest with a 28-year-old mother of three who later died said they were never warned they were putting their health at risk, a newspaper reported Monday. Gina Sherrod said that family members listening in on KDND-FM's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest told her that a nurse called into the program to warn that drinking too much water was dangerous, but that she did not worry until she learned of Jennifer Lea Strange's death. "I was so scared," Sherrod told The Sacramento Bee on Sunday. "I had the hardest time going to sleep last night because I was afraid I wouldn't get up." Strange was one of about 18 participants who tried to win a Nintendo Wii gaming console early Friday by seeing how much water they could drink without going to the bathroom. She was found dead several hours later, and the Sacramento County coroner said she died of water intoxication. During the contest, participants were given two minutes to drink an 8-ounce bottle of water and then given another bottle to drink after a 10-minute break. Fellow contestant James Ybarra said he quit drinking after imbibing eight bottles, but Stange, who placed second, and others kept going even after they were handed even larger containers. Strange showed other participants photographs of her two sons and daughter, for whom she was hoping to win the Nintendo Wii, Ybarra said. "It is sad that a mother had to lose her life to get something for her kids," he told The Bee. "None of us knew this could be a risk to our health." Contestants qualified for the event by recounting the worst Christmas gifts they'd received. Strange said her worst gift was a set of champagne flutes wrapped like roses that shattered when she opened them, according to Sherrod. Strange also mentioned that she and friends had sixth-row tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert that night. Sherrod said she managed to drink half of a larger bottle before she became nauseated and had to leave. "I felt drunk and really out of it," she said. Strange's mother found her daughter's body at home Friday in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova after Strange called her supervisor at her job to say she was heading home in terrible pain. Strange's husband, William Strange, 27, issued a written statement late Sunday in which he described his wife's giving nature. "Friday, Jennifer was just her bright, usual self," he wrote. "She was trying to win something for her family that she thought we would enjoy. ... We miss her dearly. She was my girl." John Geary, general manager of the company that owns KDND, told the newspaper in an e-mail that the station's staff was stunned by news of Strange's death. "We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred. Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Jennifer Strange, as they deal with circumstances that are so difficult to comprehend." In a similar tragedy, a Chico University fraternity pledge died of water poisoning in 2005. Matthew Carrington, 21, of Pleasant Hill had a heart attack and died during a fraternity hazing, authorities said. Four men pleaded guilty to contributing to Carrington's death by forcing him to drink so much water in a fraternity basement in such a short period of time that his heart stopped. A college student in New York died from forced consumption of water in 2003, according to records. He was forced to drink so many pitchers of water through a funnel that the sodium in his body dropped to lethal levels and his brain swelled. He died of hyponatremia, according to an autopsy.

LinconSixEcho
LinconSixEcho

I'm from the area where this contest took place and last night the Sheriff announced there was a criminal investigation being launched against the radio station because the media has been asking why there wasn't one sooner. The new covered the MySpace page of one of the female dj who was part of this. Believe me, this woman has the personality of a piece of paper. And you gotta love the fact that a thirty something year old woman speaking street slang when she looks she could have her butt handed to her by a Baskin Robins employee.

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

The radio station made a big mistake: they didn't have a medic there during the contest. And they should pay for their mistake.

hunter8man
hunter8man

Terrible, terrible news. I understand that this was seen as a harmless way to get kids what they wanted, but the producers of this station need to be held liable. I know signing a waiver gets them off the hook, but why do with something so dangerous in the first place especially with no medical personnel available? Hell, they could've just asked them a series of questions to see who gets the most right will get the Wii. But they have to be "edgy" and all that crap. Now someone will have to explain to these kids how their mom died to get them something they wanted by entering some stupid radio contest. Shame on them for even thinking it up in thei first place.

akuma7703
akuma7703

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

MCW101
MCW101

my advice i- sue the Radio station

Dreski83
Dreski83

that is more than a shame that someone had to die over such a petty thing... but you gotta think that with all the hype and excitement of owning a Wii, plus the difficulty in getting one... you can't really blame her for being a soldier and trying for the lil ones.

ldonyo
ldonyo

I hope there are some criminal charges filed in this fiasco. I also wouldn't be upset to hear that this station had its broadcasting license pulled.

jrod9999
jrod9999

The amount of pain this woman was putting herself through makes me believe she was a hard working single woman that wanted to get her children something nice> and these idiots at this radio station know definitely that there will be desperate people that will put on a great show for one of these. My prayers go out to Jennifer Strange's family and I encourage the rest of you to do the same.

Jaeme
Jaeme

So, say a naughty word on air and the feds will be up your backside so fast you`ll hear a sonic boom, but someone dies and no investigation. For some reason when a business kills someone it a business matter, oh isn`t that too bad, when if a person does it(vis the hazing crap) its criminal and someone must pay. Considering how difficult it is to get a Wii and the fact that there are state and federal rules regulating lottos and such almost the entire radio station must have been involved in the incident, not just the DJs. DJs have a reputation for being a little dim, but that rep is caused by radio stations encouraging them to do crazy stuff to increase listeners. The management is as responsible as the DJs, just not as obviously.

akuna2006
akuna2006

Poor kids, they are going to have so much guilt that their mother died for something that they probably asked for... RIP.

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

These contest really are sick, its even sicker the people will tourture themselves over stuff like this. The wii looks cool but is nothing to go through this torture for. I really think parent's need to try to teach there kids patients, especially with how rare these new consoles are becoming on launch. Patients needs to be learned.

Irve
Irve

big fines for the radio station are bound to be on the way .. and i guess a nice big law suit

nevereathim
nevereathim

I'm suprised the Dj's didn't get a criminal record, they really should have gotten more than a lost job, the next job they try to get, their boss should say this guy is a ****ing retard he got a person killed don't fire him

nappan
nappan

It's hard to find anyone in this story who doesn't come off as complete fools. drinking the amount of water these people were trying to put away would make you feel immidiatly ill, well before the average person hit a fatal electrolyte imbalance. It's common sense that it's not a bright idea to hurt yourself (even if you don't think it will kill you) for a stupid game system. By the same token, these radio station employees were the most foolish. I won't pretend to believe they should be held criminally responsible for anything, but I'd bet they'll be spending a lifetime in civil courts... and whether a cause of action exists or not, the idiots deserve it.

DrCLos
DrCLos

I know about the possibilities of water intoxication and it just goes to show that too much of anything can kill you. It's really sad though because she just wanted to win something for her kids.

jimmy-fly
jimmy-fly

didnt know drinking too much water could kill you! :|

darkfox101
darkfox101

was about to post this.. damn GS

diangelogrey
diangelogrey

I had no idea water intoxication even exsisted and Im not exactly blind to things going on in the world. I think its pretty shocking that even though these guys knew the risks of this contest, they still went on with it.. To me that does make them liable... its so murky.. I have no idea..

mhder
mhder

Regarding the line " People shouldn't be blamed if they didn't know." Well that opens up a whole can of worms doesn't it? SOme things which are common sense to me are news to others. I suppose anyone can do anything stupid and say - I didn't know that it was going to kill or hurt anyone. Wake up America, it's not always someone else's fault and ignorance isn't an excuse. But I shouldn't expect much more from a country where you can get money for spilling coffee on yourself.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

--Yeah. Dont EVER drink a gallon+ of ANYTHING. -P.S. I want a Wii pretty bad too.

Recboy
Recboy

She Should've Preordered......Wee...Wee...Herman