No criminal charges will be filed in the case of Sacramento, Calif., mother of three who died early this year while competing in a water-drinking contest run by a local radio station, FOXNews.com has confirmed.
Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully released a statement late Monday that said her office had determined 28-year-old Jennifer Strange willingly took part in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" game hosted by KDND-FM, and didn't show visible signs that she was markedly ill or in danger of dying. Involuntary manslaughter was among the charges considered in the case.
"Jennifer Strange was an adult who was voluntarily participating in the radio contest," Scully's office said 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."
Strange drank two gallons of water during the Jan. 12 competition, after which she complained of feeling disoriented and sick with a bad headache. She drove herself home and died later that day of water intoxication. Her mother found her body.
The prize was a Nintendo Wii video game console and contestants in the running were required to drink a certain amount of water in a certain timeframe — first an 8-ounce bottle of water every 15 minutes and later a 16-ounce bottle every 10 minutes.
The winner was determined to be the person who consumed the most water without urinating or vomiting. Strange was the second-to-last participant to drop out and accepted Justin Timberlake concert tickets as her runner-up prize.
"The location where the contest took place, while not in a public area, was in an area from which she was free to leave at any time; and she was constantly observed by other people including contestants, their supporters and radio employees," the district attorney's statement read.
"Ms. Strange also was interviewed twice on air by the DJs during the contest with no apparent difficulty ... 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."
Several on staff at 107.9 KDND-FM were fired in the wake of Strange's death. Her family's lawyer, Roger Dreyer, told The Sacramento Chronicle that the decision not to prosecute the radio station "makes total sense."
"We never felt that the acts of the individuals rose to the level of criminal acts or criminal intent," the paper quoted Dreyer as saying. "In fact, it simply validates our viewpoint that the responsible parties in this case are Entercom management."
Entercom Communications is the radio station's parent company.
Strange's family, including her widower and three children, filed a civil wrongful-death lawsuit Jan. 25 against KDND station manager John Geary, the DJs who hosted the morning program that held the contest and Entercom Communications.