September 28, 2009
The woman who edged out Jennifer Strange to win a Nintendo Wii testified at the civil trial brought by Strange's husband against Entercom today.
Lucy Davidson talked about the way the contest rules had been described to her in the kitchen of the radio station that January 12, 2007 morning. She said the contestants were told they'd be drinking water every few minutes, but that they didn't specify the amounts they would be drinking or the time sequences. When plaintiff attorney Roger Dreyer showed her the written rules specifying they would drink one eight ouce glass of water every fifteen minutes, she said she'd never seen them. She also said that although she had signed the release form, no one had notified any of the contestants that the contest could be hazardous.
Dreyer asked whether she'd ever heard about hyponatremia or water intoxication prior to the contest, she said she had not. When asked whether she had heard about the Chico water drinking death just two years earlier, she said no, and also said that she did not hear any contestants talk about the Chico death during the contest. She also said she had not heard the "Eva Brooks" call, where a woman called in and told the DJ's people could die from water intoxication.
She talked about her bravado at winning the contest, even though she was in great pain from drinking so much water and holding her urine so long. Even after the contest was over, she said, the DJ's would not let her use the bathroom. When she finally did, she heard someone in the next stall peeing, gagging, and vomiting, and she said she did the same. When she finally stood up, she became lightheaded and fell to her knees, with a headache she described as "the worst hangover ever." When she came out of the stall, she realized the sounds she'd heard in the neighboring stall had come from Jennifer Strange. Davidson testified that the two did not talk, because they were unable to talk.
Defense attorney Carlson found some discrepancies between Davidson's testimony and her earlier deposition, on points of when exactly she'd been told of she vomited she would be out of the contest, and that she'd thrown up after the contest. Davidson said she clearly remembered gagging in the radio station bathroom stall, but didn't recall what exactly had come up.
Carlson also pointed out that Davidson looked fine in pictures, and maintained that she felt great immediately after the contest was over.
Davidson had been a certified medical assistant for several years, and testified that she didn't think Strange required medical attention.
Defense attorney Sullivan asked whether, when told they would be drinking water every ten minutes, did she or anyone else said they didn't know that, so they would drop out? She said no. Sullivan also asked whether Davidson remembered seeing the part on the release form stating, "I have read and understand this agreement." She said the staff told her to just sign the paper and give it back, and that's what she did.
Strange's co-worker Lindsay Marie Worcester testified that she had helped Jennifer practice the day before by giving her a cup of water to drink and then timed her to see how long she could hold it. Worcester also testified as to Strange's good character.
Jennifer's mother, Nina Hulst, took the stand and talked about her daughter's relationship with her husband and children. Too much for Billy Strange, he walked out of the courtroom and waited in the hallway.