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Troopers warn crash witnesses about social media concerns

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It’s human nature to stop and gawk when you see a terrible crash, but the Washington State Patrol is asking you to hold off on tweeting or posting on Facebook any pictures of a bad accident until you know family members have been notified.

There have been several recent cases in which loved ones learned of a relatives death by seeing a photo of a crash on social media.

A well-known twitter user who goes by “Scancouver” in Clark County unknowingly tweeted about her husband’s death saying, “Oh my God, that is so horrible.” She later figured out the heartbreaking news.

In other cases, shocked relatives have rushed to the accident scene which can be dangerous.

Troopers urge you to hold off posting pictures of a crash moments after it happened. "In theory, if they're in your social media network of friends, they're probably a friend of yours,” says Trooper Bob Calkins. “Would you want your friend to find out about the death of a loved one through social media?”

Instead, troopers recommend you post a message without a photo with something like ‘There's a big wreck at so and so location and you might want to avoid that area or use alternate routes.’