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Mom outraged over car crash photos of daughter

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:50 PM
  • 6 Replies

Mom outraged over car crash photos of daughter

BARNEGAT, N.J. - November 9, 2011 (WPVI) -- A New Jersey woman is working to get a new law passed after photos taken of her daughter following a car crash were posted online - by a first responder sent to help her.

Cathy Bates, 40, was killed in a head-on crash on Route 72 in Barnegat back in 2009.

 While first responders were trying to save her, a member of the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Fire Company snapped pictures of her inside the car and posted the photos on Facebook.


Those pictures were published before Cathy's family even knew she'd been in an accident.


"To take these pictures and post them on your personal website and make hard copies and show them around... This is unacceptable," said Cathy's mother, Lucille.


The photos were quickly taken down. The fire chief says there were no close-ups and the person who took the pictures has left the department.


Horrified by what happened, Lucille has collected thousands of signatures on petitions supporting the passage of "Cathy's Law" - named for her daughter - which would prohibit first responders from taking graphic images at a scene and sharing them without the okay of the victim's family.


Violators could face fines and jail.


"They may not be thinking about what it's doing to a family but they might think about what it's going to do to them," said Bates. She went on to say pictures for training purposes are one thing, but this was different.


In fact, many fire departments and first aid squads post pictures of rescues on their websites but leave out faces. It's not uncommon for more graphic photos to make the rounds privately.


"They shouldn't become public at all, they shouldn't be allowed to be circulated," said Jim Larsen of Manchester, New Jersey.


"I can't even imagine anyone wanting to do that,' said Irene Harris of Manahawkin.


Cathy's Law legislation has been introduced in Trenton and is awaiting committee hearings.


by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:50 PM
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Replies (1-6):
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:52 PM

sounds good to me..there are just some things that do not need to be posted online..

by Milami on Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:55 PM

 Why in the world would someone do that? What purpose would it even serve.

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:02 PM

That sounds fair and reasonable. I would be appalled if that were my family member. I realize many small communities depend on volunteer firefighters, but that guy should be relieved of duty IMO.

by Bazinga! on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:06 PM

 Throw them in jail.

by Bronze Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Unbelievable. I also hope they are slapped with HIPPA violations!

by Andie on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:00 PM

As gross as it is, this is something that people absolutely thrive on.  Now and for years past.  Think "Faces of Death".  All the different movies and websites dedicated exclusively just to images of actual death scenes.  I won't lie - I've looked at them.  It's been years and years.  But I have.  I remember being obsessed with what actual death looked like.  Then I had children.  And I didn't want to look ever again.

That being said - I agree that it shouldn't be done.  I wouldn't want someone taking pictures of myself or anyone that I loved and posting them online or anywhere else for pleasure or personal gain.  I don't think that they will be able to stop it though.  We are a world that revolves around the camera and video.  Just about every single person in this country over the age of 16 carries some form of camera on their person at all times.  Hell - my 9-year old has one on his DS.  And then he has a regular digital camera.

I do hope the law passes.  I just don't think they'll be able to enforce it.

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