A jury awarded $US16 million to the family of a Sacramento-area woman who died in a 2007 radio stunt in which participants chugged water and held their bladders in order to win a Wii.
Jennifer Strange (pictured), a mum to three kids, died of apparent water intoxication during “Hold Your Wee for a Wii,” a contest held by KDND-FM of Sacramento in January 2007, not two months after the Wii debuted and demand for the console was white-hot.
The jury found the station negligent in the death, especially for ignoring several warnings that the point of the stunt – drinking a ton of water and refusing to pee – could have fatal consequences.
Ten station employees were fired after the death; Entercom Sacramento, the company that owns KDND, sounds like it will not be appealing the verdict. A spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that, “We respect the jury’s decision and hope that it will assist the Strange family in coping with its loss.”
During the trial a tape of the program revealed that an on-air host had mentioned the potential fatal effects of drinking too much water – citing a 2005 fraternity hazing death. A listener also called to advise they not try the stunt.
Strange was trying to win the console for her three children. She finished in second place. After the contest she rushed with the winner to the bathroom to vomit; by the afternoon, she was dead.
Jury Awards $US16 Million to Family in Fatal Radio Prank [Los Angeles Times, thanks Andres B.]