Since the advent of MySpace and Facebook, social media has become increasingly popular throughout the world. New social media platforms have been popping up for years, creating new and innovative ways for people to connect with one another and the world around them. Twitter allowed people to chime in on everything from world events to what happened on last week’s Game of Thrones. (Hodor!) Instagram gave its users the chance to share photos with one another. Periscope lets people live stream their daily lives. And social media giant Snapchat has its own unique features and gimmicks as well.
Snapchat was first launched in 2011. It was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. The app lets users create ‘snaps’ that last for a short period of time, between one and ten seconds. The snaps can be photos or videos. Users can send these images to friends or post them as a story. The snaps disappear after the recipient views them, while stories can be viewed for 24 hours before they disappear. One other feature Snapchat has are filters. The filters can turn users into puppy dogs, undersea creatures, and even the Terminator. The app also has a filter that shows how fast a user is going. One teen took things too far in an attempt to get an impressive reading, injuring others and herself in the process.
In September of last year, eighteen-year-old Christal McGee, of Georgia, was driving her friends home one evening after work. Christina decided that she wanted to get her speed up to “100 miles per hour so she could post it on Snapchat.” Despite the objections of a pregnant passenger, she sped the car up, hitting 113 miles per hour. This was 58 miles over the posted speed limit. It was at this point she and Uber driver Maynard Wentworth collided. Maynard was just heading out to begin his shift when McGee hit him going 107 miles per hour. Surprisingly, no one died, but Maynard did not escape unharmed. He “suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for months” as a result of the crash.
McGee then posted a snap of herself in a neck brace after the accident with the caption, “Lucky to be alive.” According to the New York Daily News, “[i]t is unclear if the passengers suffered any injuries.”
McGee is now facing both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit from Maynard. Maynard filed suit in April 2016 against both McGee and Snapchat because of the crash. The suit states that “[o]n and before September 10, 2015, Snapchat knew that wrecks had occurred due to the use of Snapchat’s app while driving at high speed.” Despite this, Snapchat has yet to take any action regarding its speed filter. Snapchat did not comment on the lawsuit, but a spokesman reportedly told CNN that there is a warning included in the app to not use it while driving.
In addition to the civil suit, McGee is facing consequences from the criminal justice system for her reckless actions. She has been charged with four offenses, including one felony charge.