The Nikki Catsouras photographs controversy concerns the leaking of photographs of Nicole “Nikki” Catsouras (March 4, 1988 – October 31, 2006) who died at the age of 18 in a car crash after losing control of her father’s Porsche 911 Carrera at high speed and colliding with a toll booth in Lake Forest, California. Photographs of Catsouras’ badly disfigured body were published on the Internet, leading her family to take legal action due to the distress this caused.
Circumstances of the accident
On the date of the accident, October 31, 2006, Catsouras and her parents ate lunch together at the family home in Ladera Ranch. After lunch, her father Christos Catsouras left for work while her mother remained at home. Around ten minutes later, her mother heard a door shut along with footsteps out the back door. As she walked toward the garage, she was able to see Catsouras reversing out of the driveway in her father’s Porsche 911 Carrera — a car she was not allowed to drive. Her mother called her father, who began driving around trying to find his daughter. While doing so, he called 9-1-1 for assistance, apparently minutes before the accident, and was put on hold. When he was taken off hold, the dispatcher informed him of the accident.
Catsouras was traveling on the 241 Toll Road in Lake Forest at approximately 1:38 pm, when she clipped a Honda Civic that she was attempting to pass on the right at over 100 miles per hour. The Porsche crossed the road’s broad median (which lacks a physical barrier on that segment) and crashed into an unmanned concrete toll booth near the Alton Parkway interchange; the Porsche was destroyed. Catsouras was killed on impact. Toxicological tests revealed traces of cocaine in Catsouras’s body, but no alcohol.