Earlier this week, a woman who was a contestant (for a Nintendo Wii) in a water-drinking contest died, ostensibly of water intoxication. There has been a lot of debate in the comments as to whether the radio station was culpuable and should be sued.
Well, as reported today on Yahoo, the radio station fired the three disc jockeys as well as seven other employees who took part in the contest.The radio show was suspended, and the station has announced an investigation into the exact circumstances of Jennifer Strange’s death. It was also revealed that the amount of water that she drank was in excess of two gallons.
2 gallons = 256 ounces. She had to drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes. She drank 32 8oz bottles, although some of the bottles got much bigger as the contest wore on.
However, the county sherrif said it was not investigating, so I’m assuming there was not deemed to be any criminal negligence worthy of prosecution. I was wondering (if there’s any lawyers out there), if the radio station could be held liable in a civil court for damages, although have no criminal negligence?
UPDATE: From the Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, alarmed by audio recordings obtained by The Bee of the radio show contest that may have led to the death of 28-year-old Jennifer Lea Strange, has directed homicide detectives to look into whether a crime was committed during the water-drinking contest sponsored by the “Morning Rave” show on The End radio station (KDND, 107.9).
(Further updates below the fold)
McGinness has said previously that he did not believe a criminal case is warranted because Strange took part in the contest of her own free will. However, after The Bee obtained a recording of the four-hour, 40-minute radio show that showed radio hosts discussing the possible dangers of the contest on air the sheriff said he believes a closer look is warranted and that his detectives will investigate. McGinness said there is the potential for a manslaughter charge if investigators find radio hosts did not render aid to Strange. McGinnis said he is meeting with District Attorney Jan Scully’s office, also.
Also, she placed SECOND in the contest.
In an online recording of the show, the DJs can be heard making comments joking about people dying from water intoxication, even discussing a case in Northern California two years ago in which student Matthew Carrington, 21, died after drinking too much water during a fraternity stunt.
One of the DJs even admitted they maybe should have done some research before the contest.
One female caller, who identified herself as Eva, also phoned in to warn the radio station that drinking too much water can kill.