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California's Highway Patrol Most Gruesome Car Wreck: Nikki Catsouras

Updated on June 18, 2012
The 911 Porsche
The 911 Porsche
Nikki before the end
Nikki before the end

They say that teen drivers and alcohol or drugs\texting while driving can end up with deadly results. While true, emotion and anger are equally toxic while driving a car. Usually called "Road Rage", most people, teens included, never totally lose it. Nikki did and the results are tragic when the car becomes a lethal weapon.

The Nikki Catsouras accident is a horrific and most gruesome proving it, although, toxicology did find traces of cocaine. Nikki was a beautiful 18 yr. old from an upper middle class family or better. Her dad sold real estate and owned his pride possession, a Porsche 911 Carrera, which Nikki was forbidden to drive.

On Oct 31, 2006, the family of three had lunch together and her father left in another car for work. Some indicate that an heated argument had developed during lunch about Nikki wanting to drive the 911. As any parent will tell you, that went about as well as a "snowball in hell". It was probably a very "sore" subject between them. High octane. Nikki went to her room for a not more than 15 minutes and then stole the 911 keys and drove off. Nikki's mother, saw her take off and called her husband. The father diverted and began to search for Nikki.

Nikki was long gone, ripping to speeds over 100 mph down the 241 Toll Road in the lake Forest area. As she did, she sideswiped a slow moving Honda at 1:40 pm or so and began to lose control and crashed into an unmanned concrete toll booth near the Alton Parkway interchange-the Porsche was totally destroyed. Nikki was partially decapitated. The CHP were quickly on the scene, took photos etc. Even the jaded CHP officers had a problem with this waste of life and did not want the parents to see Nikki. Minutes before Nikki slammed into the barrier, her father had called 911 and was put on hold. When the operator came back on, it was too late.

Two CHP officers in charge of taking the routine photos and sent them via email to one or two friends. That is all it took. The photos went viral and this wreck is known as the "Porsche girl" wreck. The Catsouras' sued the CHP for leaking the photos and it was in the courts until Jan. 30, 2012, when California's high court ruled that the CHP should pay $2.37 million to them for emotional distress.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Yes, even though it happened years ago, I am sure the wound it horrible to deal with.

    • profile image

      Charlie remark is 

      6 years ago

      Please remember the good things this poor girl was teaching her sisters we were all 18 at one point let her family heal and worship there beautiful girl and all the sick people that find humor in torchering this family will one day lose someone close to them or will never forgive themselves it's so sad please accept my sympathy my heart breaks for this family people are so sick god bless her family and Nikki peace be with you

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      The CHP photo of her body after the crash is horrifying, so much, it makes one sick to see it.

    • CarNoobz profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Oh man, how tragic. We just had a bad crash here a few months back. My son's friends had ditched school, were drinking, and flying it through a neighborhood near the school. Two people died; one was the driver's girlfriend.

      And yet, they're still in denial. Kids these days, they just don't get it that alcohol and drugs is a problem.

      Voted up

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There is an ongoing debate about emergency services personnel taking and releasing images/videos at emergency scenes, sometimes before the emergency is mitigated. While the CHP personnel may have been trying to use the images to get young people "scared straight," they should not have done so without receiving the parents' permission to do so.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Some would say that the gruesome photos that were on the website showing after the wreck are educational for the shock effect. This wreak as horrific as it was can be used to teach teens that a car is a killer and anger and driving do not mix. I would tend to agree with that, although, I also understand the privacy issue.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think besides the fact that they lost their daughter which is tragic . I am reading this story 6 years later. people look at this family they know their faces but yet they must continue to work and live in this world as cruel as people have been to them. I'm sure 2 dollars or 3,000,000 dollars would not bring me joy or closure to a leak this significant. I will use the story for my 18 year old son in hopes to understand how quickly we are taken and how fragile life is. valuable lesson the police have learned is to protect and serve that includes protecting evidence. I am glad that they were able to fight and win this case as they have done a valuable justice for future families whom may have their family member shown an undignified protected crash scene photos.

    • Marla Neogra profile image

      Marla J Neogra 

      8 years ago from Parkersburg, West Virginia

      I understand the concept of being upset and having emotional distress, but I have seen some pretty gruesome sites including incidents involving close family, and I can not fathom the 2.37 million number. That is what is wrong with society today. Inflated sense of injustice. Had the CHP made her crash and then sent pictures to friends I would possibly condone the monetary equivalent assigned, I believe a better scenario would be wage garnishment of 15% for five years from the CHP's involved given to the family. This way their sense of injustice would be salved and at the same time actually punish those involved rather than an already strapped state.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Well, the worse photo hubpages forced me to delete was showing how this beautiful teen looked after the wreck. It was shocking and she was unrecognizable. if you google the name you can find it.

    • manlypoetryman profile image


      8 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

      How a few minutes you can be gone! So sad to hear this story. Feel terrible for her family. It is so hard to see a young person go so young!

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      8 years ago from Olney

      Gruesome story but has a point. Well written.


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