Just days after 18 year old Nikki Catsuras’s death in a horrifying car crash in 2006, her father received an email with a picture of the bloody accident scene and the caption “Woohoo! Hey daddy, I’m still alive!”
A cruel trick involving nine gruesome images of the very graphic accident spread on the net and a fake Myspace page set up in Nikki’s name where she was called a “stupid bitch”. Commentors wrote things like, “That spoiled rich girl deserved it” and “What a waste of a Porsche”.
How did the images get leaked in to the Net?
Two California Highway Patrol dispatchers were to be blamed. An attorney of theirs said that he sent the images to relatives and friends “as a cautionary tale” to warn them about the dangers of the road. “Any young person that sees these photos and is goaded into driving more cautiously or less recklessly-that’s a public service.”
Nikki’s family syed the CHP for negligence, privacy invasion and infliction of emotional harm, but a judge dismissed the case as it had no legal basis to work on. The Catsourases are appealing. Newsweek’s Jessica Bennett notes: “But while libel and slander are regulated by law in the real world, in the cyberworld almost anything goes… Legally, anyone can post bloody images of Nikki Catsouras.”