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CHP Settles Over Leaked Photos of Young Woman Killed in Crash

January 31, 2012  | 

Five years after grisly photographs of an Orange County, Calif., teen killed in a car accident began appearing online, the young woman's family has settled a lawsuit filed against the California Highway Patrol for its role in disseminating the graphic images taken at the scene, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The photos from the Halloween 2006 accident show 18-year-old Nicole "Nikki" Catsouras maimed and nearly decapitated in her father's mangled Porsche. The pictures were taken by CHP investigators and were never intended for public release but were leaked by two Highway Patrol dispatchers.

Under terms of the settlement, the Catsouras family received about $2.37 million in damages.

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Joshua Jones @ 1/31/2012 5:20 PM

I feel bad that the family had to go through that. But i dont see any reason they should be awarded so much money from the CHP considering the agency its self never did anything wrong. The dispatchers should be held responsible not the entire agency.

Dustin @ 1/31/2012 11:15 PM

Im sorry but that's way too much money! Wow.

Dustin @ 1/31/2012 11:16 PM

Had those been taken by a bystander and posted (which happens all the time) it wouldnt have been an issue...

Greg @ 2/1/2012 5:53 AM

Well, it is California. Remember the old accident movies played in high school? "Signal 30" was a classic, dying teens in cars, blood etc...all in black & white...but they were a learning tool.

The best thing about Nikki was she was the only one hurt...this very stupid and careless girl "stole" her father's car, was speeding over 100, hit another car and then showed Darwin at work.

Pity for the parents, but it did happen on a public road, she was a dangerous driver and risked other's lives...there isn't an expectation of privacy for criminal behavior.

Rich parents, California courts...what a surprise.

Mark Tarte @ 2/1/2012 10:30 AM

I believe it a correct verdict. What investigator in their right mind sends a text photo from a crime scene or collision scene to anyone? The dispatchers I hope were fired for disseminating these photos. The Chippie probably should be too. I'm sorry, but if you want to share photos of something that the dispatchers were involved in then print the damn things out, show then and then collect them for your report file. ANY cop who flicks a picture at any scene with a cell camera or any camera and then forwards it by any means should be fired. Absolutely no excuse for this.

Capt David LACO Retired @ 2/1/2012 5:29 PM

Wrong verdict....I have taken 1000's of photos, so have many others, and sent them out. I agree about what if it was a civilian? Sue the state, they have the money...they should be ashamed.

Ron @ 2/1/2012 9:13 PM

The Los Angeles Coroner program that ran misbehavin' kids through the morgue was a great tool for making them aware of their actions, and they were'nt looking at photos on a gurney!!!

Al @ 9/12/2012 5:38 AM

I don't agree that it's too much money people who work in law enforcement have to be held to a higher standard and should be accountable for all their actions.

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