$16 million ruling in radio contest death

November 2, 2009 4:56:20 AM PST
A California jury has awarded $16.5 million to the family of a 28-year-old woman who died after participating in a radio station's water-drinking contest.

Jennifer Strange, a mother of three, died of acute water intoxication in January 2007 after the challenge to see which contestant could drink the most water without using the restroom. A Nintendo Wii video game was the prize for winning the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest.

On Thursday, Sacramento County jurors found Entercom Sacramento LLC, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications Corp., liable for the actions of its employees at Sacramento radio station KDND-FM. The station fired 10 employees after the death.

Strange was one of about 18 contestants who tried to win a Nintendo Wii gaming console by determining how much water they could drink without going to the bathroom. The show's DJs called the contest "Hold your Wee for a Wii."

Several hours into the contest, Strange was interviewed on the air and complained that her head hurt.

"They keep telling me that it's the water. That it will tell my head to hurt and then it will make me puke," she said.

Eventually, Strange gave in and accepted the second-place prize: tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert. She commented that she looked pregnant, and a female DJ agreed.

"Oh, my gosh, look at that belly. That's full of water. ... Come on over, Jennifer, you OK?" a male DJ asked. "You going to pass out right now? Too much water?"

Several hours later, Strange was found dead in her home.


Load Comments