Nikki Catsouras has achieved Internet immortality. She was an 18-year-old college freshman living in California together with her parents and two sisters in 2006.
Nikki Catsouras loved to shoot videos on her camera, consistent with ABC News, and ironically, it a camera would memorialize Nikki’s life and death as a gruesome and macabre joke on the web .
Photos of Nikki Catsouras in death are now the highest search leads to Google. Even Wikipedia features a page dedicated to the gory car crash.
Search engines, in our view, are neither good nor evil. How people use search engines determines whether the engines benefit society.
So when the Nikki Catsouras story broke today, we weren’t surprised. It’s not the primary time MySpace or other social media sites are trapped in seamy stories.
She borrowed the keys to her father’s Porsche 911 Carrera, a car that goes zero to 60 miles an hour in but five seconds. She had never driven the Porsche before.
According to expressway patrol reports, at approximately 1:45 p.m. last Halloween, Nikki Catsouras was traveling 100 mph on State Route 241, near Lake Forest, Calif., when she clipped another car and lost control, going across lanes over the median and slamming into a concrete toll booth. She was killed instantly.
“Her head was more or less cut in two and type of cleaved then smashed. It’s nothing that anyone should ever need to see,” said Michael Fertik, the founding father of ReputationDefender, a corporation that helps clients like the Catsouras family remove items from the web wikipedia. The Catsouras family was told they ought to never see the photos from the scene of the horrendous accident.
As the Catsouras family was grieving for his or her daughter, the accident scene photos showing Nikki’s mutilated body suddenly appeared on the web.
A fake MySpace page was created, which initially seemed like a tribute to Catsouras but also led to the horrific photos.
The pictures, taken by California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) officers and e-mailed outside the department, became so prevalent that Lesli Catsouras stopped checking her e-mail. Nikki’s younger sisters were forbidden to use the web , and 16-year-old Danielle was taken out of faculty to be home schooled for fear her peers might confront her with the photos.
A lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol for allegedly releasing the accident scene pictures has been filed by the oldsters of Nikki Catsouras.
Of course, not only search engines and therefore the Internet spread stories like this one. ABC News features a Primetime special on the Nikki Catsouras story tonight.