Hoaxes & Rumors

Is This Corvette Crash Photo a Result of Texting While Driving?

Is This Corvette Crash Photo a Result of Texting While Driving?

A horrific photo of a Corvette which has crashed into the back of a large truck is often circulated with a story describing the image as a result of texting while driving. Is this story true or false?

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The photo is real, but the story is not.

The photo dates from 2005 and does in fact show a terrible accident. The caption that claims this photo depicts a texting-while-driving accident was added several years later. Here are some variations of the texting story included with the photo, which resurfaces several times a year:

  • They found his cell phone still in his hand – he was texting – his head was in the back seat. PLEASE don’t text while driving. Share this if your against Texting & Driving……..
  • Do not play with the phone while driving! Harm to others! When rescue personnel found the deceased, the deceased had been decapitated, his hand still holding the phone. The original accident took place when the deceased was using a mobile phone.
  • Saw this on Facebook today. An eye-opener for you sending out SMS while you are driving, because that was what this driver did. His mobile was still in his hand, but his head was in the backseat
  • He was texting his wife, to say he was 5 minutes from home. PLEASE don’t text and drive! (Please share)

Several years after the accident, the photo surfaced with a humorous caption, “Physics: Resistance is Futile” which is shown below.

The Real Story

The accident was reported in the July 29, 2005 edition of the The Record, New Jersey’s second-largest daily newspaper. Thus, the accident occurred on July 28, 2005 and was reported as follows:

Friday, July 29, 2005
FRANKLIN LAKES – A Westchester County man died Thursday afternoon in a crash on Route 287.

Joseph Gianelli, 58 of Irvington, N.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene after his Chevrolet Corvette struck the rear of a tractor-trailer at about 1 p.m., near milepost 65, state police said.

The truck, operated by Clouis Oquinn Jr., 52, of Virginia, was parked on a northbound shoulder when the Corvette plowed into it. Oquinn was not injured, officials said.

The crash was under investigation Thursday evening.

There is no mention of text messaging in the news report, and texting while driving wasn’t a common problem in 2005, especially for older individuals. It would appear that the texting story was manufactured and this graphic photo was selected to be representative of the story. Damning proof that the captions for the story are not true are evidenced by those versions which claim the man’s head was found in the back seat of the Corvette. Corvettes, however, do not have a back seat.

The other photo

Another photo from this crash scene exists, but it hasn’t been as widely circulated.  The angle of this photo is from the opposite side as the well-known photo.


The Google Trends chart below shows search history on this story. As you can see, it originally peaked in July 2012. It has had several peaks since then, including one in mid-2015.

Bottom Line

It appears that this terrible crash photo has merely been used to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving, and a fictional story was fabricated to accompany it.

The anti-texting-while-driving movement is certainly a worthy cause, but this photo is irrelevant to the conversation.

Updated July 9, 2015
Originally published August 2012

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  • Don Parkhurst

    i see tons of 18 wheeler drivers on the phone or texting while they try to make turns with 1 hand and take 3 lanes to make a right and still run over the curb

  • Peter Foster

    I am now 69 and I don’t have a mobile phone, so I don`t text…

  • MrNewCastrati

    Lost a High School mate this way years ago before text phones. He was distracted somehow and plowed into the back of a stopped 18 wheeler – never knew what hit him.

  • K Kielley

    It IS possible this happened at night. They could have left the scene as is until daylight so they could examine as they removed the corvette. Duh.

    • Phil Gentile

      lol as long as it sounds good to you BWAHAHAH DUH

  • Kellie M

    The story may not be true but the sentiment is. Leave your phones out of your hands and your hands on the steering wheel while you are driving, period!!! You are not only risking your own life but the lives of everyone around you, including anyone that is in your own vehicle. I have never texted while driving and never will. I also do not talk on my cell phone while driving…nothing is more important than keeping your eyes on the road and your mind on your driving. I have already been involved in a horrific accident…..head on collision with an 18 wheeler in ’87 which left me permanently disabled. I don’t need any further problems.

  • John Baker

    Is reading for comprehension not your strong suite? The article doesn’t state that texting didn’t exist in 2005. It states, correctly, that texting while driving was not as big a problem then.

  • bob

    Seriously people, the horse is as dead as the poor man in the corvette.

  • Sneezy Phil

    The truck was parked – Stationary. The ‘Vette was wedged nearly all the way under the truck. Maybe Speed was a significant factor in this crash? Speed & fatigue? Using the shoulder as an overtaking lane? Could be any number of scenarios.

  • mypeeps

    Just thought I’d throw my thought into this way off othe subject pot. Actually pagers had texting capabilities to read and respond way back in the 1990’s

    So it is possible that one be reading or sending a text with a mobile device in 2005. However, most people had began using mobile devices of some sort by then.

    Also, the mobile phone technology had advanced quite far in 2005. 2g & 3g phones where commonly available. Most offered the ability to search the web through their carriers scaled down version of the internet by 2002. And every phone I have owned offered a text feature that was similar to a pager. Although it was not a seperate package, it was charged against your mobile minutes.

  • James

    There are plenty of valid photos that could be used to make the texting while driving is bad. Using a faked one only hurts the cause. For the Mythbusters episode, that was a joke. Adam was intentionally driving cautiously and not like the typical drunk driver and his accomplish was intentionally driving in a way to show cell phone talking was bad. For studies, you have to look at basis as many researchers allow their own, or their funders’, basis to taint the results. I love chocolate, but the results of the chocolate study,funded by a major chocolate company drew bad conclusions and ignored the actual results and some obvious flaws in methodology. For example, you would need 500 calories (typical daily limit is 2,000 calories for many people) worth of dark chocolate to gain the benefits mentioned in the study. Not sure many doctors would agree that giving up 1/4 of your daily caloric intake for dark chocolate is remotely healthy.

  • Don Watson

    Interesting. But the argument strayed far from the question at hand: Did this accident occur when and because the driver was texting. All the possibilities of what could happen are really irrelevant. Only did texting cause this accident? Don

  • Robert

    I didn’t read all of the replies however, 1. If this was as it was reported, that the vette crashed into the rear of the trailer, then where is all the strewn debris from the car? all you see is a neat pile of body parts. 2. See any blood? 3. How many corvettes have back seats? 4. Notice how straight the car is under the trailer? Doubtful.. This looks like the tractor trailer backed over the car — with no one in it.

  • Calla

    The fact is that we as a culture are allowing ourselves to have less accountability toward each other, and expecting police to shoulder much of what should be our own responsibility; Laws becoming so intensely convoluted in attempting to placate the lazy. We should be EMBARRASSED about going out there strutting our stuff about rights when we are not willing to approach the situation personally. My life and death are personal issues for me, so to place my life/death choices in a strangers’ hands brings me to become personally involved with anyone who does not show respect for my life, showing off their audacity to risk my death. I cannot believe that this was a first time offense for the guy. He chose a muscle car. We would all have recognized this. Having been involved in close calls, I have followed people for miles so I could pull up behind when they eventually parked. When I confronted them, I did so with tears of pleading for my life and that of my future progeny. From the heart with no malice or anger. I made sure the scene was re-lived, and possible outcomes fully discussed, including gory details. I like to think their driving habits were affected for a while. If you really care, try this on a personal basis, and find out what an impact true compassion can make on our society. If it doesn’t work, try harder. I challenge you all. I will NOT believe it makes no ripples.

  • Brown

    If the driver wasn’t texting, then what really happened? Did he fall asleep? Stoned? Drunk? The faster you driving a high performance car, the less time (virtually none) to react to a dangerous driving situation. If this fellow was driving really fast, he looked up & saw what was coming – by the time he took his foot of the gas pedal it was already too late.

  • Bobby G

    Corvettes don’t have back seats. Fabricated story from ground zero

  • dixie

    Where is the Mansfield Bar that should be on the back of the trailer?

  • David

    A Corvette doesn’t have a back seat. The end.

  • shaun

    People didn’t start texting and driving until they made it illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving. They turned to texting because you can hold your phone in your lap without being seen. This is Just another law that solved nothing and created a bigger more dangerous problem just to raise money.

    It’s shameful so many are so quick to blame cell phones as the problem when people are still allowed to do all of the follow while driving… change radio, eat fast food, drink soda, pick up something they dropped, smoke, eat and smoke at the same time, talk to passenger, look at distracting bill boards, change iPod songs, put cd’s in the cd player, look at GPS on dash board, look at DVD player on stereo, scan radio stations, talk on ham radio (uses more interaction than a cell phone). All are actions that should be done with best judgment just like cell phones. Problem is so many don’t have very good judgment and make mistakes doing all of the things mentioned above.

    Lastly lets mention that law enforcement and emergency personnel are allowed to use cell phones as if they are somehow superhuman and do not succumb to the pitfalls of cell phone usage like an ordinary driver would. What a joke!

    The whole thing is a Joke and is just another way of raising money for the state. We should all be asking our self what they will think of next. 🙂

    • Court For Short

      Naaaah, come on.. Texting and driving was a problem LONG before they banned cellphones for drivers. That was the whole reason they put the law into place. It wasn’t just because people were talking on the phone.. They were texting too.

      You’re totally right about all the other things that are distracting but legal, but you have to take into account the practicality of outlawing such things. They can’t just be like “Ok, no more eating in your car” because a) that’s not a big enough issue to merit it’s own law, and b) it’s just not practical.

      I mentioned in an above comment reply that there is a fine.. Not sure what it’s called elsewhere, but here it’s called ‘Undue care and attention.’ Basically if they see you doing something stupid that’s distracting you from your driving, you get a fine. It could be eating, laughing, scratching your arse… Any thing that distracts you from driving. The cellphone thing used to fall under this too, but because SO many people were killing themselves or getting into trouble with cellphones they just made it an entirely separate law and began public awareness campaigns to stop people from using their phones while driving.

  • iamme

    I as well tell people it’s incorrect. Actually, I link this site in the comment feed.
    Texting while driving is obviously dangerous and everyone knows it. This picture or any other would never make an impact to stop a persons texting-while-driving anyways. Stupid people are always going to be stupid.
    Anyways.. isn’t there actual pictures of accidents of texting-while-driving out there instead of lying to everyone?
    Good job on stopping the internet “trolls” on this though. Working together to weed out the false stories on the web will help make it a wonderful truthful resource of information.

  • The truth in NJ

    Btw – every time I see this posted, I tell who ever shared that it is incorrectt. It just bugs me.

  • The truth in NJ

    Okay – I live in the town where this happened. Everyday over the summer rush hour on this stretch of 287 is extra heavy. The man driving the corvette decided to try riding the shoulder to pass traffic, but had been behind a larger vehicle, whe he shot out to the shoulder he accelerated right into the trailer of the semi that was pulled over on the shoulder. He was not texting. He was impatient. And I feel bad for the MPD that had to be there to see what was left of him. It wasn’t pretty.

    • waffles

      Thanks for sharing. That makes more sense than the story often attached to the image.

  • Mike

    One thing would prove he was texting – SOMEBODY COMING FORWARD WITH HIS LAST TEXT. BOOM! People. Sheeesh. Think a little…..

    • waffles

      Hah – that’s actually a good point.

  • Morgan

    First let me just say that yes texting while driving, especially at speed, isn’t the smartest thing in the world. I don’t for a minute believe though that you have to falsify a violent image to get your belief across to others. First, with the amount of force needed to get this car where it is, unless the cellphone was surgically grafted to the bones in his hand there is no way it was held on to. Second and most obvious there is no back seat. So tell your story, just don’t lie about it it just makes your point worthless.

    Just as a quick fyi, you can’t always blame texting in accidents.

    Even with all the new technologies that are out, in force, and in use in stupid ways today; Still, as of 2012, the #1 Distraction for Motor Vehicle Operators is: Passengers.

    Does this mean we should ticket car-poolers? Should every car these days be made with only 1 seat?

  • Kate

    Just a quick fact. I noticed someone saying that text messaging didn’t really exist in 2005. Well, I have possessed a cellular phone since 1998. (I was 14 so it was still a bit uncommon for me to have one.) Regardless, I recall texting then. It was quite crude and I believe I could only text within that network, but it was there. In 2004, I sent a text message to my husband asking him to come back to get me so I could go on his business trip with him. (I only remember because he was almost an hour away. He thought he was doing me a favor by letting me sleep in instead of taking me with him for the short day trip.)

    It’s not exactly relevant to the photo, but I wanted to remind those certain few that it is possible to have been texting in 2005…even if the caption is incorrect.

  • MaryLou

    Even if it were true, it is sad for the family to have to see this photo all over the web. Sad.

  • Dom

    Unreal I’ve had 4 Corvettes you don’t text driving a vette you speed

  • Ferret melivin

    Corvettes don’t have back seats case closed

  • Rob

    Law of Parsimony…the most likely possibility is that no cell phone was involved. Stop reading into it. Stop trying to cover all your bases with statements like “at this time we do not have conclusive evidence that the story is not true.” It’s that kind of talk that has led to our decline, in my opinion. When everything’s debatable, there’s no right and wrong. Pretty sure the dude wasn’t texting. Besides it doesn’t look like he hit the truck texting at interstate speed. It looks like he hit the truck at a high rate of speed. Who texts while traveling at possibly 100+ mph? Anyone who’s ever driven that fast knows that holding the wheel makes texting impossible. Stop the ignorance.

  • B-Squared

    All this discussion about the perils of texting/cell phone talking while driving is serious. One just as distracting behavior than texting that should be banned that has long preceded the above actions is women(maybe some men) applying eye liner/make-up while driving. I was rear ended by a woman doing just that because “she was late for work” and didn’t have time to do it at home. I was stopped at a red light behind another car and all I could see in my rear view mirror was a lady steering with her elbows applying mascara or eyeliner looking into the sun visor’s mirror and completely oblivious to the fact that she was coming up to a red light and me! I see this a lot on the streets and it infuriates me to no end. Women… you know who you are and are guilty of this!… STOP IT!! please before you kill someone or yourself.

    That is all… good day!

    • Court For Short

      That IS illegal. It’s called Undue Care and Attention here, used to just be called Dangerous Driving I think.. I dunno what it’s called elsewhere. But basically if you are driving and doing something else that’s obviously distracting you from the primary task OF driving, it’s a dangerous driving fine.

      But yeah.. Next time you see some dumb broad doing that, and you don’t have a fish to slap her with, just call in her plate. They can’t fine her but they can cite it on her record and then she won’t get a “warning” if she ever DOES get pulled over for it.

      But you’re right.. That is just damn stupid.

  • Sandra

    You know I don’t really care if that driver was texting or not. It is the perfect photo to promote the cause to eliminate texting while driving. Since the tractor trailer was parked off the road, something caused this poor man to go off the road to hit the trailer at what appears to be at full speed. Maybe he wasn’t texting, but the use of phones while driving was and still is constant with men, women, and children. If you need to talk or text, pull into a parking lot, at least you have a better chance of making it to your destination.

    • Spoony

      It may make a good illustration, but it’s not accurate. That man’s death is being posted all over the place, while saying he died from doing something stupid. We can’t go around inventing causes of this man’s death; it’s horribly unfair to his loved ones.

      Imagine this: I slip on some loose stones and hit my face, get some bad bruising, and I post a photo of it on Facebook. You take my photo and use it to illustrate a domestic violence story, which goes viral. Everyone that knows me and my guy see it — they think he beat me horribly! Or instead, you put my photo to a texting while driving story. Everyone thinks now that I did something stupid, and become angry at me.

      It’s of course dangerous to text/talk and drive, and people need to understand that. There are plenty of real cases that can be used to prove the point; making up stuff doesn’t help anybody.

    • Rob

      “…the use of phones while driving was and still is constant with men, women, and children.” o.O They let children drive in your state?! This is the type of ignorance I’m talking about. It’s not a perfect example of anything other than driving stupidly in general. If it has nothing to do with texting, then don’t try to add onto the story. It doesn’t help the case. It’s also been mentioned several times above that it causes the family undue hardship seeing their loved one pasted all over Facebook.

  • Matt

    ^ I’m with Bill here. This photo shouldn’t be circulating around the internet with false stories attached. It’s disrespectful and hurtful to the victim’s family. We don’t know if he had a heart attack or stroke, blacked out due to a medical condition, etc.
    As for those putting blame on the truck driver – the accident wasn’t his fault, even if he was parked illegally. I’ve worked insurance claims like these for a living, and any time you run your car into a stationary object/vehicle, it’s your fault. Same concept applies if you back into a car in the Walmart parking lot – even if that car is parked illegally in the fire zone, you hit a parked car…your fault. You were the one that was moving, and didn’t see what was in front of/behind you.
    And for those bashing the Corvette drivers – that’s just silly. Any windshield on any car (your family cars, sports cars, luxury sedans) would have collapsed at a highway speed impact like this. I’ve seen it happen with multiple vehicles. There are definitely safer vehicles than Corvettes on the road, but in this type of accident, it wouldn’t have mattered. The only way someone could POTENTIALLY survive an impact like this is in a tall pickup/suv type, WITH seatbelts and airbags on.
    Its good to warn everyone about safe driving habits – Even though driving is an everyday activity, it is very dangerous. This year to date in Tennessee we’ve had over 905 accident fatalities – likely to hit 1000 by the end of the year. But using false information and making assumptions is not the way to get the message across. Please have respect for the families of individuals like this who have been involved in fatal accidents.

    • waffles

      Well put Matt. Your sentiments are why this article was written. The story was obviously fabricated and attached to an unrelated photo. Texting and driving is an issue, but the victim of an unrelated accident shouldn’t be dragged into the discussion.

      • waffles

        Good comment Terry. Thanks for your input.

  • James

    GLB … if you look at the picture of the right side of the trailer, you will find your DOT approved bumper, sitting just behind the rear dual wheels. At the speed in which the Corvette hit the semi, I doubt any bumper would have been able to stand firm against all that energy.

  • glb

    I find it interesting that no one (including the truck driver) has noticed that this trailer is not equipped with a DOT bumper (this is a heavy bumper that must extend to within 4 inches of either side of the trailer, the distance between the bottom of the bumper and the ground must not exceed 22 inches and the bumper should be 4 inches wide) which is mandated by law since the 70s to prevent just such an accident. What are the odds that the only trailer on the road missing a DOT bumper would be the one the Corvette ran into? Driveunders are pretty much a thing of the past because of these bumpers.

    • bkj

      How on earth can you tell that trailer didn’t have a DOT bumper? It likely collapsed under the bottom of the trailer due to the force of the collision. Those DOT bumpers do not withstand highway speed crashes.

  • Sprechen

    I’m glad he is dead. Those of you with your “I’m sorry he is dead’ boohooing are being either disingenuous or stupid. The automobile, the modern equivalent of natural selection, breeding out carelessness and foolish behavior. The only thing better in my opinion is Japanese motorcycles. Painting the back of that truck with his brains was a far better use of them then his daily driving was, I opine based on most corvette drivers I have seen on the road.

  • LMAO

    Cassie, can you actually read?

  • Cassie

    This was so not the truck drivers fault! I have no clue why you are all blaming the truck driver. This person was texting and driving, so it’s their fault. And corevettes that I have seen don’t have backseats so how did they find the persons head in the back seat?!?!! Seriously, STOP texting and driving obviously it CAN kill you!!!

    • Dusk

      Can’t you read? It’s been proven several times that the driver of the corvette was NOT texting and driving.

  • 1958Debs

    Never had problems using a cell phone while driving, mostly due to the fact that I paid extra attention then to the road. Almost had an accident, while I was signaling, no less, and looking, thank God, while I was changing lanes to get a good old fashioned hemorrhoid off my back. Gal started changing lanes without signaling, without looking and with a cell phone glued to her face. I pulled back into the original lane and she just went on, oblivious to near death. Oh, lost the hemorrhoid by the way. Love to hear what actually caused the accident, seems like the trucker was illegally parked there.

  • Rikki

    It does not matter when any of these accidents happened and if or if not they were texting. What matters is we have progressed in technology but came short of brains. We can take a picture of a terrible accident 30 years ago. The fact remains that there was severe driver error at place here. An error that could have been easily avoided by paying attention to what is important. The road. So sad at what happened.

    • 1958Debs

      Actually, it seems to be more of trucker error. No matter how many pylons or cones you use, if you aren’t allows to park at a spot, then it’s illegal parking.

      • Myra Sawicki

        Are you kidding me? It is the trucker’s fault. Always blame the truck driver. You have no idea why the truck is on the side of the road. Maybe it broke down. That does happen. Or maybe the driver could not find a place to sleep after being forced to drive over his hours because the lazy asses at the shippers/recievers can’t load/unload him on time and then the driver is forced to drive without getting proper rest. Another reason drivers don’t always get the rest they need is that there are not enough rest stops and truck stops for all the trucks out there, cause no one wants a truck stop in their town. But they sure expect the merchandise to be in the stores when they walk in to buy something. I know all this because my husband drove a truck for almost 30 years and I drove one for two years. Stop blaming the truck drivers for everything!!!

        • Lynne Wallace

          Myra Sawicki, I know there are obviously times when truck drivers are at fault, but I agree that people are too quick to blame them. My husband used to drive a truck, too. One time, he was getting ready to turn left (2 left turning lanes – he was in the one on the right). A man in the left lane decided he wanted to go straight all of a sudden and ended up under my husband’s truck. The man tried everything he could to blame my husband for the accident, but thankfully my husband had 2 people who came up to him and handed him their business cards saying they had witnessed the accident and knew the other man was at fault.

          In this controversial picture, the truck is obviously out of the way on the shoulder of the road so I can only assume that the driver of the Corvette was possibly very distracted or falling asleep at the wheel. Very tragic and sad.

  • jay

    And BiffNotZeem’s comments could equally be applied to driving while stone-cold, almost passing-out drunk.

    The studies are there. He and Judy are free to ignore them.

  • BiffNotZeem

    I am sorry about Gary’s loss, but …

    Gary quotes a bunch of studies. Of course he does so without referencing them, so neither the studies’ conclusions nor methodologies be analyzed. Nor does he do a broad survey of studies and only mentions studies that support his position.

    And even if 4x and 23x are valid numbers, they are statistical averages. Some people have little to no issue using the phone while driving and others should not be allowed to carry a phone in a car. But, instead of ticketing people directly for undesirable behavior that was against the law long before cell phones (erratic driving due to distraction), people feel compelled to write another law against a secondary behavior that may or may not be related to the undesirable behavior.

    • 101stLRRP

      Biff I have found it true that when some asks me or another person to prove their facts, the person asking for proof is ignorant himself and cannot dispute said facts with any information he says. The best example is when I talk to people about how Military equipment like tanks and jet fighters can be purchased by ordinary citizens, people say where’s your proof, they ask me where’s my proof after I had recounted a a US news and World report article stating the fact and about my meeting an officer who said he owned military vehicles he rents to the army to use. They had not proof to contradict me so in response to your stating he has no evidence I propose you cannot disprove him with your lack of contradicting evidence.

    • DevinMacGregor

      Biff, there is an episode of Mythbusters that was trying to dispute that driving while on the cell phone is as dangerous as driving drunk. It is up on netflix.

      Biff they as well mention a British study that tested drivers over the same issue.

      You might be surprised Biff at what they found out.

      Lots of drivers still today Biff drive while under the influence as well and get into no accidents.

      • Rugeirn Drienborough

        And you can also jump off a building and not die. That doesn’t make it a good idea to jump off buildings. There is simply no way that concentrating on a cell phone instead of on your driving can be regarded as anything but a risky manuever. Yes, a few people will get away with it many times, and a few people will get nailed the first time, and everything in between. However, sooner or later, it’s going to catch up with you, just as jumping off buildings will catch up with you sooner or later. There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

  • Gary

    However, we do know that it doesn’t just take text messaging to be distracted. My son was killed last year by a driver on a cell phone. Drivers on cell phones — even hands-free devices — are 4X more likely to be in an accident within five minutes of making or taking a call. Texters are 23X more likely. Numerous studies have shown people driving while on phones are the equivalent of drunk drivers with a .08 BAC.

  • Judy

    The crash was under investigation Thursday evening. * What was the final conclusion from the investigation?

    There is no mention of text messaging, and in fact in 2005 texting while driving wasn’t very common, especially for a man in his 50s. It would appear that the texting story was manufactured and a graphic photo was used to demonstrate the story.

    This is an assumption on our part. Usually the first to use electric gadgets are men and I would consider a man, driving a corvette, that is in his 50s would have a good chance of being some type of executive/professional and palm pilots were common for many in that group …

    Unless you have actual facts, do you think it is appropriate to make such a definitive statement “This photo, however, is irrelevant to the conversation.”?

    A fair statement would be that the story locations are not accurate but at this time we do not have conclusive evidence that the story is not true.

    • waffles

      I think it’s a fair statement as the texting story was obviously added to this unrelated photo. Recall that the texting story talks about the victim’s head in the back seat, and Corvettes have no back seat. So if the texting story can’t be reconciled with the photo, and the news story of the crash cannot be reconciled with the texting story, the photo should be considered irrelevant to the texting story.

    • Psyd

      “at this time we do not have conclusive evidence that the story is not true.”

      This kind of attitude is the source of more ignorance in the United States than any other.
      Believe what you will, and make smarter people than you prove that there are no unicorns.
      Once you get out of the fifth grade, you are supposed to realise that you are allowed to believe in things that have some shred of evidence supporting them, and treat everything *else* as potentially mythical.

      Apologies if Judy is still in the fifth grade.

    • GJA

      Judy, my dear, you are living in fantasy-world.

      In 2005 almost SMS (“texting”) was nearly nonexistent here in the USA. Carriers here didn’t even have plans for it in most markets (I make my living in telecom and am an subject matter expert so just don’t even bother with “but maybe” strawman arguments).

      This was NOT a texting/messaging accident.

      It was an unfortunate example of purely distracted driving/overdriving past ones ability to react.
      Tragic and sad, an awful loss of life, but not technologically related.

      Your assertion “A fair statement would be that the story locations are not accurate but at this time we do not have conclusive evidence that the story is not true.” is NOT a fair statement and ignores the body of evidence already verified as irrefutable.

      Stop making things up based on “anything is possible” strawman arguments.

      • Joe T.

        What are you going on about? Texting was anything but uncommon in 2005. It was sufficiently common by 2001 that the phone I got that year had text messaging support. American Idol was using text messaging for voting by 2003 and by 2007 Americans were sending more texts than they were making mobile phone calls.

      • Steve

        Where did you learn this false fact?
        Text messaging via 140 character SMS transitions are nearly 20 years old, and well over 15 years old in the US alone.
        I remember using it in the late 90’s, as it was how I got most of my service calls forwarded to me in the field.

      • waffles

        It’s true that texting has been around for 20 years, but even in 2005 it was much less prevalent than today. Pew reported in 2005 that only 33% of teens had ever sent a text, and older adults overall do not text as much as teens.

        • Jon Samuel

          You are correct. This series of comments is instructive on many people’s idea of logic. Just because something was available does not mean it was prevalent. The iphone was not out yet. I had had a Blackberry for years but texting was not a mainstream activity especially for older people. But even if it was it has nothing to do with this specific story which did not mention texting as the reason for this accident. There is no backseat in Corvette. Well intentioned lies. Probably the same people that question that planes brought down 9/11 just “know” texting was the reason for this accident with no evidence at all except a caption made up by some anonymous person on a photo posted on the internet.

      • Mrs. LaClair

        To use a statement like “there is no evidence to say the story is not true” leaves an infinite number of possibilities we would have to take into consideration as possible fact. for example, there is no evidence to prove the driver was faithful to his wife. Does that mean we should assume he is a cheat? Or just look at the other side of your question which would be that there is no evidence to say the story IS true. Using your logic, that statement is also true. It’s a simple way to try & confuse someone by utilizing a little tricky weird play. I’m sorry Judy, but your comment remind me of a Liberal politician reasoning with their sheep. What if the driver was your loved one, and the accident was not even his fault, but you had to see this story attached to his photo, disrespecting your loved one? Lastly, given the story has a coherent lie, that cannot be argued, we already know the story is NOT factual because there is no way for the driver’s severed head could wind up in the backseat of a car that does not have a backseat. To me, that untruth makes the entire story invalid, as is your comment.

      • Chuck

        My phone texted in 2005. It was a Nokia. The cheapest one with SMS I could find. I bought it in 2003, and it texted then too. It was my second phone with SMS capability, the first I bought in 2000. it is entirely possible that this guy could have been texting, and entirely possible he could have been reading Anna Karenina. Judy is using poor logic, no need to spin nonsense about the availability of SMS messaging to fight it. It defeats itself. 🙂

    • Cmac

      We don’t have conclusive evidence that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy aren’t real either.

    • Purposeful Panda

      The facts behind Joe Gianelli’s accident only take a couple of minutes to research, but that’s beside the point. The story smacks of fabrication on casual observation. No name, time frame, or venue are provided. The fable dramatically includes a statement that Joe’s head was in the back seat. Of course, the Corvette has always been a two-seater and does not have a back seat. Everything about this Internet meme smacks of fabrication.

      It takes less than 60 seconds with Google Image Search to track down the origin of the story. A quick browse of the newspaper archives and a few minutes on the phone with Westchester County laid out the facts.

      The death was ruled accidental. There was no mention of a cell phone in the police reports from officers on scene. There was no cell phone (or remnants thereof) inventoried from the wreckage. As for the rest of the story, I’ll respect the family’s wishes and leave that alone… Except to say that that one might draw many valuable life lessons from Joe Gianelli’s passing, but none of them have anything to do with cell phones or texting.

      Imagine for a moment that one of your close family members died in a horrific accident. Now imagine that a photograph of your loved one’s death scene was plastered all over the Internet… Attached to a slanderous lie about the cause of death. How would you feel? Imagine not being able to log onto Facebook for fear of seeing this ludicrous meme passed around.

      This, Judy, is why we simply don’t assume some Internet meme is true until proven otherwise. More often than not, they are false. While the deceased cannot be hurt by slander, the family he leaves behind can be.

      There are facts, and there are gossip. This is gossip. No matter how well intended that gossip is, like most gossip, it hurts people. The family of the deceased is aware of this meme, and wishes it would go away. Sadly, as long as the Internet is populated with gullible gossip-mongers, it will continue to be passed around.

      • trooper

        Very well said. This applies to so many of these types of posts. A lot of which are being recycled from before facebook even existed. They are easily recognizable and easy to check out. Please do so people because they can effect the REAL people that are involved!

    • Farrah Side

      Corvettes DO NOT HAVE A BACKSEAT! The story is impeached and, further, when it comes to communications it is women who are first to use the e-gadgets. As far as I can see, I suspect 50% of the female population in Boca Raton have their right hand and ear phones surgically attached to opposit sides of their cell phones. This has generated much business for qualified plastic surgeons in the area.

    • Vette

      First thing I noticed was they said his head was in the back seat so I knew they were making up stuff so it’s hard to believe the rest of the story

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