Calif. Woman Arrested in Deadly Crash That Was Livestreamed Online - NBC Connecticut
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Calif. Woman Arrested in Deadly Crash That Was Livestreamed Online

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    An 18-year old woman has been arrested in California on suspicion of causing a deadly crash that she recorded live on Instagram. Ian Cull reports. (Published Tuesday, July 25, 2017)

    Editor's note:The video above contains graphic material that may be disturbing to some viewers.

    An 18-year-old woman has been arrested in California on suspicion of causing a deadly crash that she recorded live on Instagram.

    Obdulia Sanchez was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter after Friday's crash that killed her 14-year-old sister and badly injured another 14-year-old girl.

    The California Highway Patrol says Sanchez was driving the car when it veered onto the right shoulder of a road about 120 miles southeast of San Francisco. It says she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to swerve across lanes, crash through a wire fence and overturn into a field.

    Sergio Ramos Estrada, a cousin, told NBC News the teens were preparing for a quinceañera when the accident happened.

    "We were going to go to her house the next day to celebrate her quinceañera, and unfortunately that happened," Ramos Estrada said.

    Sanchez is currently being held on a $300,000 bond at the John Latoracca Correctional Facility in Merced. The California Highway Patrol is examining the video as part of the investigation.

    Shannon Vallor, who teaches philosophy of technology and social media ethics at Santa Clara University, said too many people are trying to lead parallel lives with their phones, always streaming, posting, and missing what's happening right in front of them.

    "This case should shock us, and if we can't be shocked by this, we're really in trouble," Vallor said. "Our habits or being able to pay attention to the world around us, are being radically transformed, and in a lot of cases, damaged and degraded by our media habits."

    Mary Hernandez, 25, was following Sanchez on Instagram and watched as the livestream showed the car careen into the fence, according to NBC News.

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    Disturbed by what she saw, Hernandez said she recorded a copy of the video.

    "There are so many people that are on my Snapchat that I see driving on their phone," Hernandez told NBC News over the phone. "I hope that this video makes people think twice about what they’re doing in their car."

    Hernandez, a medical assistant from Stockton, California, told NBC News she doesn’t personally know Sanchez, but the women have mutual friends.

    "This is real," she said. "This is something that could seriously happen to someone."

    Instagram said in a statement Monday: "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they see any content or behavior that puts anyone's safety at risk."

    Social media sites such as Instagram of Facebook have faced a host of violent or disturbing postings since users were given the ability to livestream.

    NBC News contributed to this report.