A man who lost his wife and child in Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash said in court Thursday he lives in fear daily that bloody images of his loved ones could end up on the internet.
Christopher Chester, who sued Los Angeles County first responders who allegedly shared disturbing photos from the scene, said he was seeking ‘justice and accountability’ as he took the stand for the seventh day of the court case. He is suing LA County along with Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant.
Chester lost his wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton in the 2020 accident which also involved Bryant, his daughter Gianna and five others.
“I’m scared every day,” Christopher Chester said of photos that eventually surfaced online. “There’s been a lot of stuff that people thought didn’t exist – that popped up on the internet.”
Chester, an Orange County financial adviser, even encouraged his two 18-year-old sons not to surf the web in case they came across the graphic photos.
During Chester’s testimony, he said he was shocked when he heard the news on February 28, 2020 – his 46th birthday – that photos were allegedly taken by LA County officials and then shown at the Golden Mike Awards a month after January 26, 2020. crash.
“I couldn’t construct a scenario where that would happen,” Chester said. “I had largely isolated my family from the details (of injuries suffered by their loved ones). Now I thought there would be pictures of the remains (on the internet).
Chester recalled on the stand the last moments he spent with his wife and daughter before heading to the doomed helicopter.
“Payton and I had a very close relationship and I gave her my rah-rah speech and I hugged Sarah and told them I would see them tonight,” he said during the heartbreaking testimony.
When he heard about an accident, he said he called Kobe Bryant’s assistant who told him “we lost communication somewhere between Orange County and Calabasas.”
Chester told the court he decided to sue because he felt there was no clear explanation for the decimation of the photos.
It is unclear how many photos were taken and to whom they were sent, as well as where they were stored. Also unknown is the identity of the person who received photos from a sheriff’s deputy who took photos of the human remains.
“Let’s all pray that this person doesn’t exist,” Chester testified. “But this uncertainty? Vanessa and I have to live with this fear.
He believed the investigation into the macabre accident would be carried out in a “sensitive and professional” manner.
“It never occurred to me in my wildest imagination that (a first responder) would be taking pictures up there,” he said.
The NBA legend’s widow is expected to testify on Friday, as is LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.