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Outrage after teen takes smiling selfie with car involved in fatal accident

Technically Incorrect: A Florida teen poses with the wrecked car he was a passenger in and posts the shot to Instagram. The driver of the other vehicle was killed.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Robert Drewelus, 53, was driving his semi down a Florida highway when he was involved in an accident with a Volvo.

The picture in question.

WFTS-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The Bradenton Herald reported the semi was carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline. It rear-ended the Volvo, then veered toward the shoulder, overturned and burst into flames.

The Volvo allegedly left the scene of the accident before police arrived. Drewelus died.

Three days later, his widow, Elsie Nieves-Drewelus, had more news.

As WFTS-TV reports, a teen who was a passenger in the Volvo allegedly posted a picture to Instagram. It gravitated to Facebook and elsewhere. It showed him standing by the wreckage of a car with the words: "RIP volv."

He was smiling. There was also a smiley emoji and one of a semi.

"No family should have to go through this," Nieves-Drewelus told WFTS.


A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman told me a 16-year-old -- said to be the poster's brother and the alleged driver of the Volvo -- had been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident involving death and for contravening the conditions of his learner's permit.

Police say they found the Volvo at an apartment complex, hours after the crash.

The FHP confirmed the existence of the Instagram image but declined to comment on it. The spokesman told me the investigation is ongoing, and WFTS reported the cause of the crash hasn't been released.

WFTS also said it tried to contact the teen, without success, and that his Instagram account was deactivated and carried a message claiming it had been hacked.

What would possess anyone -- teen or not -- to post something a picture like this, especially in these circumstances?

"They took off," Nieves-Drewelus told WFTS. "They didn't have the decency to at least, to pull over and call 911. At least I would have known that they made some kind of effort. No. They just left him like you leave an animal on the side of the road, which was not fair."

Everyone wants to take a picture of everything these days. Especially a picture of themselves.

It's as if neither the circumstances nor even the humanity matter.

"Hey, look at me," is always, it seems, the prime motivator.

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