The meme “Porsche girl” after the photograph controversy of leaked photos of the brutal accident of Nicole “Nikki” Catsouras.
The 18-year-old girl crashed her father’s Porsche 911 into a toll booth in Lake Forest, California, after she lost control of the speeding car. The accident occurred when she clipped a honda civic while attempting to pass over the right at 160 km/hr.
In an attempt to do so, she crossed the road’s broad median and crash into the concrete toll booth.
The incident happened on October 31, 2003. When she took her father’s Porsche for a spin, which was not allowed to do, her mother witnessed Nicole reversing out of the driveway, in response she immediately informed her father, who immediately started to search for her.
He was informed by the police when he reached their 911 service to inform them about her careless driving.
How Did The Photographs Become Viral?
Following the gruesome accident, photographs of the body were taken by two CHP employees, Aaron Reich and Thomas O’Donnell.
The two of these men allegedly mailed these photos to their colleagues and other friends.
According to the interview, Aaron Reich claimed that he forwarded the pictures to four other friends. These photographs surfed the internet rapidly in gore blogs, body horror message boards, as well as in pornographic websites.
People circulated the photographs from the accident site all across the media with trolling captions. In one such case, her father received the same photos with the caption” Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy. I’m still alive”.
For the Catsour these incidents became harder to face each day and forced them to withdraw from the use of the internet as their younger daughter might cause distress due to the viral photos of the aftermath of the accident.
Due to the unbelievable trauma caused by the mishandling of the documents by the California Highway Patrol, The Catsouras family filed a lawsuit against them, which at the initial stage the judge of the case was found appealing to move forward with the case.
As it went on both of the employees were suspended without pay. However, after the removal of the employees, the judge handling the case dismissed the against California Highway Patrol.
He ruled out that they were not responsible for protecting the privacy of the frightful photos regarding the incident. Further, the case was ruled out on the grounds of dispatchers’ behavior labeled as “utterly reprehensible”.
However, in the summary judgment of the case, the court ruled that the family indeed has the right to sue the defendant for their negligence that caused emotional distress.
Money Cannot Compensate For The Pain
In the final stages of the case, the California court of appeal for the fourth district ruled out that Aaron finch could not submit the evidence that prove image sharing was part of spreading knowledge about ruthless driving.
The court found that the intention of sharing those images does not relate to the topic of drunk driving. Following the judgment, the CHP reached a settlement with the family to cover the damages. The family received around $2.3 million in damages.
In response to the settlement, CHP spokeswomen Fran Clader said that “No amount of money can be compensated for the pain suffered by the Catsouras family.”
Despite the circumstances, the CHP helped the family to remove the photos by sending a “cease and desist” notice to websites, in an attempt to take off the photos from the website.
In addition, the Catsouras family also hired a Reputation Defender to help them remove the photos from websites.
It was believed that around 2,500 images of Nicole were taken down from the website, and the organization revealed that it would be impossible to delete every image that has surfed on the internet.
For all those drivers out there, this incident maybe brings you to the sense to avoid reckless driving, as it is extremely dangerous.
I've been writing about LGBTQ issues for more than a decade as a journalist and content writer. I write about things that you care about. LGBTQ+ issues and intersectional topics, such as harmful stories about gender, sexuality, and other identities on the margins of society, I also write about mental health, social justice, and other things. I identify as queer, I'm asexual, I have HIV, and I just became a parent.