KTRK has issued an official editor's note about its coverage of Jonathan Kokel, the 19-year-old pizza delivery man who lost control of his car and ended up in a lake. He was rescued but died days later from complications from the near-drowning.
In a story dated January 13, 2011, KTRK made an inappropriate comment involving the accident and death of a 22-year old man. Jonathan Kokel died after an asthma attack.
The Jonathan Kokel Memorial Fund has been established at every Wells Fargo Bank location. A benefit will also be held on February 19th at Curb Checkers Bar and Grill; 19214 Clay Rd.; Katy, TX, 77449
KTRK apologizes and regrets the error.
So what was the "inappropriate comment"?
The report doesn't seem to be available online, but comments attached to one of the station's stories on the incident -- a comment thread that apparently includes friends and relatives of the victim and the co-worker who tried to save him -- indicate that a KTRK reporter joked that it was not known whether or not the pizzas eventually got delivered.
At the time, Kokel was alive and there were some comments by DPS that it looked like he would survive, so maybe the joke wasn't as crass as it seems in the light of his death.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.