No criminal charges will be filed following radio station water-drinking contest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- No criminal charges will be filed following the death of a woman who took part in a radio station water-drinking contest in January, the Sacramento County district attorney said Monday.
Jennifer Strange, 28, died Jan. 12 after drinking nearly two gallons of water in a competition sponsored by 107.9 The End. Contestants were vying for a Nintendo Wii video game system.
Strange did not win the contest, which took place during the station's Morning Rave show. She was found dead hours later in her Rancho Cordova home. A preliminary coroner's report said Strange showed symptoms of water intoxication.
Strange's death was investigated by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department homicide bureau and submitted to District Attorney Jan Scully's office for the possible filing of criminal charges.
But Scully's office said in a prepared statement that given the circumstances of the case, it appears that no criminal activity took place.
"The facts and circumstances of this ill-fated event do not support the filing of criminal charges against the radio station or any of its employees," the district attorney's office said in a statement. "Based on the evidence, no duty or special relationship existed or was created between the radio station and/or its employees and Jennifer Strange because of the contest."
"Jennifer Strange was an adult who was voluntarily participating in the radio contest," Scully's office said elsewhere in the statement. "She knew what the contest involved when she entered it, and had the option to stop or discontinue her participation in the contest at any time."
In addition, DJs interviewed Strange on the air without difficulty, the district attorney's office found.
"Finally, and most importantly in our decision not to file involuntary manslaughter charges, there were no observable indications or symptoms that Jennifer Strange was experiencing a serious medical emergency which would have required station employees to seek or administer medical aid to her," the district attorney's statement added.
A wrongful death complaint was filed in late January in Sacramento County Superior Court seeking economic, emotional and punitive damages from the radio station, the DJs of The Morning Rave show and Entercom, the parent company of the station.
Roger Dreyer, attorney for Strange's family, said the decision by Scully's office was not unexpected.
"I am not surprised by the district attorney's decision," Dreyer said in a prepared statement. "We do not believe the conduct of the individuals rose to criminal intent. It is consistent with our viewpoint from the beginning that the decision maker responsible was the management of Entercom."
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